Quality of life after burn injury: the impact of joint contracture

J Burn Care Res. Nov-Dec 2006;27(6):864-8. doi: 10.1097/01.BCR.0000245652.26648.36.


We sought to investigate quality of life, and to specifically assess how joint contracture affects it, in patients with burn injuries. The study is involved 22 adults with burn injuries. Patients were divided into two groups according to the presence (n = 11) or absence (n = 11) of any joint contracture. Patient age, sex, date of burn injury, burn type, location, and extent of burn (TBSA) were recorded for each case. Each individual underwent a thorough musculoskeletal system examination, with special focus on range of motion of the joints. Quality of life was evaluated using the Short Form 36 (SF-36). Eight (36.4%) of the patients were women, and 14 (63.6%) were men, and their mean age (+/- SE) was 24.7 +/- 4.68 years. The mean interval from injury to the study assessment was 21.45 +/- 14.69 months. Eleven patients (50%) had at least one joint contracture. The patients with one or more contractures had significantly lower scores for the SF-36 subscales of physical functioning, physical role limitations, bodily pain, and vitality (P = .05, P = .01, P = .04, and P = .02, respectively). In the 22 patients overall, TBSA was negatively correlated with the scores for the SF-36 subscales vitality and emotional role limitations (r = -.586 and r = -.805, respectively). Joint contracture does impact burn patients' quality of life, especially with respect to physical functioning, physical role limitations, bodily pain, and vitality. In addition, the amount of BSA burned is correlated with psychosocial problems and poorer quality of life, regardless of whether joint contractures develop.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Burns / complications*
  • Contracture / etiology
  • Contracture / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Deformities, Acquired / etiology
  • Joint Deformities, Acquired / psychology*
  • Male
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires