Posttraumatic Elbow Contracture

Gregory Rafijah


Curr Orthop Pract. 2014;25(3):213-216. 

In This Article


Elbow stiffness can occur as as the result of intrinsic joint contracture, such as a malunited fracture, the presence of loose bodies or osteophytes, or extrinsic causes, such as muscle injury or scarring or burns. Prevention may yield the best results, and early controlled motion should be instituted as soon as possible. Once contracture develops, physiotherapy with splinting may be of benefit. Closed manipulation also may be of limited benefit but can result in heterotopic ossification. Good results have been obtained with open and arthroscopic release of elbow conractures. Complications include instability, heterotopic ossification, iatrogenic injury, and recurrence