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Therapy exercises after an elbow 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, then surgery may be needed.

What exercises 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 feeding yourself 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 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.

Exercise 1

Bend your elbow moving your hand towards your shoulder.

Grasp your wrist with your other hand and push your hand towards your shoulder increasing the stretch in your arm.

Photograph of person holding wrist up to the shoulder

Hold this position for seconds then straighten your elbow. Repeat times.

Exercise 2

Straighten your elbow moving your hand towards your leg. Grasp your wrist with your other hand and push your hand towards your leg increasing the stretch in your arm.

Photograph of person using their hand to hold down the opposite forearm

Hold this position for seconds then relax your elbow. Repeat times.

Exercise 3

Keep your elbow tucked in by your waist and turn your palm down so it faces the floor. Use your other hand to increase the stretch.

Photograph of person with elbow by their waist, and arm out, using other hand to stretch

Hold this position for seconds. Then relax your forearm. Repeat times.

Exercise 4

Keep your elbow tucked in by your waist and turn your palm up so it faces the ceiling. Use your other hand to increase the stretch.

Photograph of person with elbow by their waist, and arm out, using other hand to stretch

Hold this position for seconds. Then relax your forearm. Repeat times.

Contact us

Sheffield Children’s Burns Therapy
Telephone: 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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Western Bank
Sheffield
S10 2TH

United Kingdom

Switchboard: 0114 271 7000

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