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Therapy exercises after a knee burn injury

It is important to exercise your joints after a burn injury. If the skin over or near a joint has been damaged by a burn, it has the potential to become tight and eventually contract. A contracture is a lack of movement at the joint and this will happen if it is not exercised regularly leading to the joint becoming stiff and limiting your everyday activities. It is always better to prevent a joint contracture from occurring than it is to treat it.

If a contracture develops, another surgery may be needed.

What should I do?

During your treatment you will have carried out some exercises with the therapist. It is very important that you continue your exercises at home.

These should be carried out little and often throughout the day to prevent stiffness. Using your limbs for normal daily activities such as getting dressed and walking will help maintain movement and reduce stiffness. We would advise you to carry on with hobbies as discussed with your therapist as these will help to improve movement.

When you are lying in bed, it is important that you keep your affected leg straight and do not place any pillows under your knees, as this can increase your risk of contractures.

When your burn wound has healed, as advised, use an unperfumed cream to moisturise and massage the area 2 to 3 times a day to keep your skin supple which will help with your stretches at home. It is very important that the old cream is washed off before applying more.

Exercises

Exercise 1

Lie on the floor or bed and straighten both legs out.

Photograph of person laid down on their back with their legs outstretched

Bend the affected leg at the knee so that your foot is flat on the floor.

Photograph of person laid on their back with one leg outstretched and the other knee in the air with their foot flat on the ground

Then put your arms around your knee and pull the knee close to your body as far as you can.

Photograph of person laid on their back with one leg outstretched and their other knee up towards their chest and pulling it in with their hands to stretch their leg

Hold this position for seconds.

Then relax by straightening your leg.

Photograph of person laid down on their back with their legs outstretched

Repeat times.

Exercise 2

Lie with your knees flat on the floor or bed with the affected leg push the knee into the bed or floor.

Photograph of person laid down on their back with their legs outstretched

Hold this position for seconds, then relax your leg.

Repeat times.

Exercise 3

Straighten the affected leg in front of you either on the floor or the bed. Place a towel around your foot. Pull the towel whilst pushing your knee downwards, until you feel a stretch down the back of your calf.

Photograph of person sat on the floor with legs outstretched, and using a towel around the feet and pulling while keeping knees to the ground

Hold this position for seconds, then relax by releasing the towel.

Repeat times.

Exercise 4

Sitting on a chair. To make this exercise easier you may use a tray or plastic bag under your foot.

Bend the knee by sliding your foot along the floor.

Photograph of person sat on a chair with one foot on a tray or piece of plastic

Straighten the knee by sliding your foot along the floor

Photograph of person sat on a chair with one foot on a tray or piece of plastic out stretched in front of them

Hold each position for seconds then relax.

Repeat times.

Exercise 5

Sit on a chair and place the affected leg onto a stool or another chair, allowing your knee to relax and straighten fully.

Photograph of person sat on a chair with one leg up on another chair to make the leg as straight as possible

Hold this position for minutes. Then relax by taking your leg off the stool or chair.

Repeat times.

Contact us

Sheffield Children’s Burns Therapy 0114 271 7148.

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Disclaimer

Please note: this is a generic information sheet relating to care at Sheffield Children’s NHS FT. These details may not reflect treatment at other hospitals. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professionals’ instructions. If this resource relates to medicines, please read it alongside the medicine manufacturer’s patient information leaflet. If this information has been translated into another language from English, efforts have been made to maintain accuracy, but there may still be some translation errors. If you are unsure about any of the guidance in this resource or have specific questions about how it relates to your child, always ask your healthcare professional for further advice.

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NHS

Western Bank
Sheffield
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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