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Invalidating elbow contractures, a frequent problem after injury, are commonly treated by physical therapy or surgical release. In both cases, results can be frustrating: physical therapy is often not sufficient to gain functional range of motion, and after surgical release it is common to lose part of the motion gained in operating room. Thanks to the viscous-elastic properties of the soft tissue, the mobilization elbow braces can stretch the retracting or retracted tissues inducing a biological lengthening of collagen fibres. In post-traumatic contracture, mobilization braces are effectively employable in two main critical situations: to treat recent onset contractures which do not respond to simple physical therapy and to help in preserving range of motion gained after surgical release. We report our experience with mobilization brace used in 42 patients, 5 for post-traumatic contracture, 4 for contracture following articular fracture fixation and 33 after surgical release. Classification, indications and treatment protocols of the mobilization braces utilized are reported.
PMID: 20383680 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]