Skip to content
My WebMD Sign In, Sign Up
Font Size

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Soft Tissue Release of Contracture - Topic Overview

A contracture is a joint abnormally bent by shortened soft tissues in and around the joint. The shortened tissues pull the bone out of normal position. A contracture may develop in a joint affected by juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Because of the effectiveness of today's treatments, your child probably will not develop contractures. But if a contracture does develop, treatment may include splints and physical therapy.

Surgery is rarely used to treat JIA. But it is sometimes used to release contractures of at least moderate severity that have not responded to other treatments. Surgery is sometimes needed to restore motion, especially for hip and knee contractures that interfere with walking.

Recommended Related to Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Diabetes

There’s research that suggests a connection between rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and diabetes. But the nature of that connection or even whether it’s actually real is unclear. "There are tantalizing links between the two diseases,” says Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and a rheumatologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. But "at this point they are mainly speculative." WebMD asked Solomon and Androniki Bili, MD, MPH, to explore the possible...

Read the Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) and Diabetes article > >

One procedure used is soft tissue releases of contractures, which involves cutting the muscles attached to an abnormally bent joint. As the muscles and other shortened tissues are released, the affected joint can return to a more normal position.

Goals of soft tissue releases of contractures include:

  • Returning the joint to a more functional position.
  • Increasing range of motion.
  • Relieving pain.

Casts are usually used for several weeks after contracture releases of the knee, followed by physical therapy and nighttime splinting. This procedure often relieves the contracture and pain associated with it and makes it easier for the child to move the joint.

Physical therapy after a soft tissue release is essential to benefiting from the procedure. For this reason, children must be at least 6 years old to be considered for this surgery.

1

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.
Next Article:

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Soft Tissue Release of Contracture Topics

Today on WebMD

fish oil capsule
Article
senior woman holding green apple
Article
 
young women in yoga class
Video
Man with knee brace
Article
 
Lucille Ball
Slideshow
Hand bones X-ray
Article
 
prescription pills
Article
Woman massaging her neck
Quiz
 
woman roasting vegetables in oven
Slideshow
Woman rubbing shoulder
Slideshow
 
Xray Rheumatoid Arthritis
Slideshow
arthritis
Article