Effects of Stretching on Joint Contractures: A Systematic Review

What’s This Research About?

A contracture is a severe medical condition that negatively impacts quality of life through diminished joint function. The etiology of contractures, however, is not well understood. Contractures could be caused by burns, fractures, muscle atrophy, rheumatoid arthritis, joint capsulitis, stroke, cerebral palsy, brain or spinal cord injuries, surgery, ankylosing spondylitis, and more. The traditional treatment for contracture has been a passive stretching intervention, sometimes splinting for hours, days, or weeks at a time. This paper sets out to review the effects of stretching on joint contracture in the short term (i.e. effects within one week of last stretching session).

About The Author


Jules Mitchell

TITLE: Stretch for the treatment and prevention of contracture: an abridged republication of a Cochrane Systematic Review


PUBLICATION: Journal of Physiotherapy

DATE: 2017

AUTHORS : Harvey, Lisa A., Katalinic, Owen M., Herbert, Robert D., Moseley, Anne M., Lannin, Natasha A., Schurr, Karl

Cochrane Review: reviews of primary research in human health care and health policy investigating the effects of interventions for prevention, treatment, and rehabilitation; internationally recognized as the highest standard in evidence-based health care resources. (from Cochrane.org)

Contracture: Partially reduced or completely absent passive range of motion due to any number of neurological or orthopedic conditions.

Systematic review: a type of literature review that collects and critically analyzes multiple research studies or papers, using methods that are selected before one or more research questions are formulated, and then finding and analyzing studies that relate to and answer those questions in a structured methodology. They are designed to provide a complete, exhaustive summary of current literature relevant to a research question. Systematic reviews of randomized controlled trials are key in the practice of evidence-based medicine, and a review of existing studies is often quicker and cheaper than embarking on a new study. (from Wikipedia.com)

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By |2018-11-06T15:47:20-04:00October 30th, 2018|Musculoskeletal, Stretching|0 Comments

About the Author:

Jules Mitchell MS, CMT, ERYT500 is a Los Angeles based yoga teacher, educator and massage therapist. Her unique approach blends the tradition of yoga with her extensive study in biomechanics to help teachers develop their craft and empower them with education. Jules’s methods intend to achieve ease in movement through deliberate effort, thus her teachings integrate numerous modalities, balancing the somatic aspects of yoga with the most current exercise science. Jules is currently writing her book, Yoga Biomechanics: Redefining Stretching, which is expected to become available in 2018 through Handspring Publishing. Learn more about Jules Mitchell.