Once an elbow contracture forms, early nonsurgical treatment may be effective. Physiotherapy using corrective bracing can produce significant improvement. Static progressive splinting has been shown to be an effective modality in treating posttraumatic elbow stiffness with good patient satisfaction. Static progressive splinting may be more effective than dynamic splinting for use in the elbow because dynamic splints may induce an inflammatory response from the constant stress that is placed on the tissues being elongated. Intermittent static progressive splinting results in relaxation of the stretched tissues, resulting in less softtissue trauma and theoretically less inflammation. However, Lindenhovius et al. compared dynamic and static progressive elbow splinting of posttraumatic contracture. No significant differences were found in either group regarding motion or functional status at 12mo follow-up.
Curr Orthop Pract. 2014;25(3):213-216. © 2014 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins