A contracture is the abnormal shortening of muscle or other tissue. It may be caused by muscle spasm, wasting away of tissue and muscle (atrophy), scar formation from injury, chronic disease, or lack of use.
A contracture often develops in a joint affected by arthritis or in a paralyzed limb. It may make it impossible to move the joint normally. A contracture causes surrounding muscle, tendons, ligaments, and bone to shorten or bend. And it can lead to permanent deformity and disability.
Contractures are treated in many ways, including physical therapy, casts, and surgery.
Primary Medical ReviewerSusan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical ReviewerJohn Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Current as ofSeptember 9, 2014
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise