What Is a Contracture of the Hand

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A contracture of the hand is a condition that affects the hands and fingers, causing them to become stiff and difficult to move. This condition is usually caused by the tightening of the muscles, tendons, or skin that surround the hand and fingers. Contractures can occur for a variety of reasons, including injury, surgery, or prolonged immobilization.


The symptoms of a hand contracture can vary depending on its severity and cause. A mild contracture may cause only slight stiffness or discomfort, while more severe cases can cause significant pain and limit your ability to perform everyday tasks. Some common symptoms of a hand contracture include:

– Stiffness or tightness in the hand and fingers

– Inability to fully extend the fingers or hand

– Pain or discomfort when attempting to move the hand or fingers

– Loss of grip strength

– Deformity of the fingers or hand


There are several different causes of hand contractures. Some of the most common causes include:

– Prolonged immobilization: When a hand or finger is immobilized for an extended period of time, the muscles, tendons, and skin can become stiff and tight. This can lead to the development of a contracture.

– Injuries: Trauma to the hand or finger can cause the muscles and tendons to tighten, leading to a contracture.

– Surgery: Certain surgical procedures, such as those involving the hand or wrist, can cause the development of a contracture.

– Neurological conditions: Certain neurological conditions, such as stroke or cerebral palsy, can cause the muscles in the hand to become tight and stiff.


Treatment for a hand contracture will depend on its severity and underlying cause. In some cases, mild contractures can be treated with stretching exercises or physical therapy. More severe cases may require surgery to release the tightened muscles or tendons. In some cases, splints or braces may be used to stretch the affected muscles and tendons.


Preventing hand contractures involves maintaining flexibility and range of motion in the hand and fingers. This can be achieved through regular stretching and strengthening exercises. If you have had a hand injury or surgery, it is important to work with a physical therapist to regain full function and prevent the development of a contracture.

In conclusion, hand contractures can be a painful and debilitating condition, but with proper treatment and prevention measures, they can be managed effectively. Whether you are recovering from an injury or surgery or have a neurological condition, it is important to work with a healthcare professional to develop a treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs.