Positioning and Splinting
Early positioning of the patient’s arms and legs helps to reduce swelling. The burned areas will be elevated above the heart and may be placed in splints to stay in this position. Positioning also helps to maintain function. A contracture is loss of skin elasticity that limits movement and may be prevented by proper positioning, splinting and active motion. Splints can be made for neck, hands, arms, elbows, legs and other areas.
The patient will be exercised each day to prevent contractures from occurring. Special exercises are devised for each patient. The patient needs encouragement by family members to exercise and help himself or herself as much as possible. This includes feeding, turning, getting in and out of bed and eventually becoming more independent. It is easier to exercise now and prevent tightness and contractures from occurring than not to exercise and have to go through possible years of reconstructive surgery with more pain and financial burden.