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Contracture

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.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics
Specialist Medical Reviewer John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
Current as of June 5, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: June 05, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.