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ELBOW CONTRACTURE


WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

The word contracture simply means that full movement of a joint is prevented by the soft tissues surrounding the joint. This differs from movement being prevented by the bones of the joint. The main soft tissue associated with a joint is the membrane that surrounds the joint and contains its fluid. This membrane is called the joint capsule.

MEDICAL HISTORY

An elbow contracture typically occurs following previous elbow trauma: fracture or ligament injury. The timing of the original injury relative to the loss of motion is very important to understanding why the motion was lost. All the details of the previous treatment including prior surgery and therapy efforts should be reviewed.

EXAMINATION

The most important part of the examination is trying to determine if the underlying joint is stable and properly shaped with healthy cartilage. A joint that does not have healthy cartilage or that is already unstable will not fare well during contracture treatment. The elbow joint is measured in its four directions of movement: flexion, extension, supination, and pronation. The joint is checked for stability of its two main ligament groups (medial and lateral). Adjacent nerve compression (particularly the ulnar nerve going to the ring and small fingers) must be sought out prior to treatment as it will only get worse if not included in the plan.

ADDITIONAL TESTS: The main additional test needed is simply a basic x-ray. Rarely should expensive imaging studies such as a CT scan or MRI be needed in the work-up. If there is any question regarding ulnar nerve compression, a nerve conduction test should be performed to measure the exact nerve conduction velocities.

TREATMENT OPTIONS

  NON-OPERATIVE CAPSULECTOMY
CONSISTS OF Outpatient and home motion exercises and splinting Surgically removing the scarred capsule tissue that limits elbow motion
FEATURES Static progressive splint adjusts to push motion to the limits Must preserve the medial and lateral collateral ligaments; transpose the ulnar nerve if compressed
ADVANTAGES Avoids surgery Most powerful treatment to restore motion
DISADVANTAGES Only effective while post-traumatic scar tissue is still maturing (less than 4 months after the original trauma) Very painful and requires intense therapy commitment on the patient’s part

RECOVERY

The capsulectomy surgery removes all the previous motio


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  • I have enjoyed this facility and Dr. Henry has been more than helplful. All questions answered, as well as answers I didn't even know I had! The staff is always helpful. - 03/03/17
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  • The entire team at the Hand and Wrist Center is outstanding. They made the recovery so smooth and comforting from the courteous receptionists, excellent occupational therapist, attentive medical assistants, and brilliant doctor. Thank you! - 03/31/17
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  • I feel very confident in Dr Henry and the direction I am headed. - 03/10/17
  • everything HAS BEEN GREAT AND HEALING WELL WITH ALMOST FULL MOTION IN LESS THAN 5 WEEKS. tHANKS dr hENRY - 03/03/17
  • Thank you! - 03/08/17
  • I was very impressed with how I was treated by the doctor as well as the Medical assistant. All my questioned were answered and I was treated with care and respect. Luis was Awesome! Doctor Henry was very informative. I will recommend him to friends and family - 06/09/17
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  • Doctor Henry was awesome! And Luis was very helpful and nice! - 03/20/17
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  • Dr. Henry and Mary in PT helped me get my dominant arm back in working order. - 04/18/17
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  • I have enjoyed this facility and Dr. Henry has been more than helplful. All questions answered, as well as answers I didn't even know I had! The staff is always helpful. - 03/03/17
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  • Very happy I came here for the surgery, etc. - 06/09/17
  • Really appreciate the education and insight related to my wrist and future athletic training - 05/31/17
  • Very knowledgeable about the possible procedures the could be preformed! Dr. Henry is a very honest person and I appreciate that in a man more than anything. He gave me truth and not what I wanted to hear! Thanks - 04/04/17
  • Great staff, Great Doctor, Great surgery, recovery, and follow up. Thank you for the time and attention with helping me through the entire process. I felt very comfortable and safe with the entire process. - 02/10/17
  • We have had the best experience here. The staff has always accommodated us and since Tyler is only 10, they always go out of their way to make sure we are comfortable. I have and will continue to recommend Dr. Henry and his staff to anyone I know. Thanks! - 02/28/17
  • Staff was very courteous and helpful. Dr. was very informative and easy to understand. - 03/27/17
  • I have loved coming here and felt very welcomed by everyone! Thank you so much for all you do! - 03/10/17
  • thank you for helping me - 02/03/17
  • FIRST CLASS!!!!!!!!!! - 03/03/17
  • Thank you for the hard work and excellent care. If ever I need this type of care again I will be knocking on your door. I've already recommended your services to others. Thanks Again! - 03/07/17
  • Great Appoitnment - 05/11/17
  • some of the most friendly staff and the doctor always explained the information in a manner in which I could understand which always made it very helpful. will definitely recommend this location to family and friends. - 05/31/17
  • Had a wonderful experience overall. Breaking my arm was tough but the staff here was always very, kind and helpful. Especially Dr. Henry, Mary, Karen, Luis, Joel, Teresa and David. I'll miss them all but hopeful won't have to see them any time soon :)Thank you! - 05/04/17
  • everything HAS BEEN GREAT AND HEALING WELL WITH ALMOST FULL MOTION IN LESS THAN 5 WEEKS. tHANKS dr hENRY - 03/03/17
  • The staffs here was GREAT!!!! - 06/21/17
  • joel was also my assistant but everything was great - 03/07/17
  • Dr Henry is a wonderful Dr. and I would highly recommend to others - 02/07/17
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  • Great staff. - 05/02/17
  • Staff is always friendly and helpful. I will definitely recommend this office. Dr. Henry is a very skilled surgeon and went out of his way to make sure I understood my procedure and the rehabilitation process. - 03/24/17
  • Everyone was kind and efficient. All things were clearly explained to me and I felt confident in doing my dressings. - 03/03/17
  • Dr. Henry gave me my wrist back!!! Thank you Dr. Henry!!! - 07/10/17
  • Awesome experience. Luis rocks! - 04/06/17
  • thank you for all you have done! I recommend you foranyone that is having any problems via hand wrist. Amazing surgon and doctor!!! - 02/01/17










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