How can I Prevent Hand Contracture After a Stroke?
Apr 9, 2019
How can I Prevent Hand Contracture After a Stroke?

What is Contracture?

Contracture is another name for extreme stiffness in the muscles, joints, or connective tissue. It is an advanced form of spasticity. Many stroke survivors suffer from a large amount of spasticity in their affected hand, which can lead to a clenched fist. After the brain is damaged by a stroke or another neurological condition, it is unable to properly communicate with the affected hand and spasticity ensues as a result. It is very important that you address a clenched fist as soon as possible to help prevent contracture.

SPASTICITYGRAPHIC

What Causes Contracture?

Lack of use is the most common cause of contracture. If your hand remains clenched for long periods of time, your hand muscles will start to shorten, causing them to become very tight. Patients with contracture will experience very tight muscles and a limited range of motion. Additionally, contracture can become very painful and can require surgery in order to release the muscles.

contracture

Good News!

Contractures are preventable! By stretching your muscles throughout the day, you can prevent your hand spasticity from worsening.

How do I Prevent Contracture?

One way to prevent contracture would be to wear a hand splint (orthosis) for a few hours every day or even while you are sleeping in order to passively stretch the muscles and maintain a unclenched hand state for an extended period of time.

A great tool that allows for a long passive stretch is Neofect’s Extender Splint. The Neofect Extender is a functional orthosis tool that is used to minimize spasticity, maintain functional grasp and prevent stiffness.

Another way to prevent contracture is to address the underlying cause: the spasticity. In order to help decrease spasticity it is important to retrain the brain in order to prevent miscommunication from the brain to the hand. You are able to rewire the pathways in your brain through the concept of Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity means that the brain has the ability the rewire itself even in injured areas by performing repetitive tasks and movements. The Neofect Smart Glove and Neofect Smart Board allows you to conduct repetitive training that is not only effective but also fun.

People may choose different paths to treat their spasticity however it is very important to address it in order to prevent a contracture and other severe consequences.

To find out more about our helpful rehabilitation solutions please call (888) 623-8984 or email us at info@neofect.com.

WRITTEN BY

  • Becky Alter, OTR/L
    Becky is an occupational therapist and healthcare content writer based out of Denver, CO. Becky has worked across states and practice settings, most recently as a Clinical Manager for Neofect USA.
RELATED POSTS

10 Exercises to Improve Balance After Brain Injury
Balance
10 Exercises to Improve Balance After Brain Injury
Maintaining good balance after a brain injury is crucial. Here are 10 exercises to start today to ensure safe and effective mobility.
What is the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS)?
NIHSS
What is the National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS)?
The National Institutes of Health Stroke Scale (NIHSS) is a clinical assessment of stroke severity. Results from this measure can help predict a patient's recovery and determine their medical course following acute stroke.
Stroke Recovery: How to recover after stroke quickly
Stroke Recovery
Stroke Recovery: How to recover after stroke quickly
We’ll explain what’s important in stroke rehabilitation and how long it takes to recover after a stroke to recover quickly. Also, You can see what skills are expected to improve during stroke rehabilitation.
using-neofect-smartglove-to-maximize-constraint-induced-movement-therapy
Neuroplasticity
Using the Neofect Smart Glove to Maximize Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy
Constraint Induced Movement Therapy (CIMT) is used to treat people with Hemiplegia by constraining or restricting movement of the non-affected hand to force a person to use their affected hand.
What  does  a  drop  foot  brace  do?
Foot drop
What Does A Foot Drop Brace Do?
Are you contemplating to buy a drop foot brace? Here is the check list you need to consider before buying one.
NeoMano: A Grasp Assist Device Gets Ready to Make a Debut!
NeoMano
NeoMano: A Grasp Assist Device Gets Ready to Make a Debut!
The NeoMano is a soft, wearable robotic glove that allows for grasp of everyday objects using the thumb post and the pointer and middle fingers with use of titanium wires and a small motor and battery pack.