Objective. This retrospective study examined the use of low-load prolonged stretch (LLPS) orthoses for contracture management.
Method. The records of 17 patients from skilled nursing facilities, hand clinics, and hospitals were reviewed. There was a total of 18 contractures (2 wrist, 12 elbow, 4 knee) secondary to neurological and orthopedic pathologies. Chart review focused on patient demographic information, range of motion (ROM) and functional outcomes, and wear schedules.
Results. The use of LLPS orthoses significantly increased ROM for the whole sample, which in turn significantly improved the subjects functional outcomes. When the sample was divided into two pathology groups to compare a predominately geriatric population with neurological pathologies to a somewhat younger population with a history of musculoskeletal pathology, both groups showed a significant gain in ROM with the use of the LLPS orthoses.
Conclusion. Use of LLPS orthoses for contracture management can mediate the losses in ROM and function that occur with joint contractures.