Q: Several of my joints have become so stiff that I can't move them, which makes it difficult for me to even sit comfortably. What can be done to straighten out my arms and legs?
A: The treatment of these contractures
is extremely difficult. Really the only way to tackle them is to put splints on your arms and legs to stretch them out. The physiotherapist or occupational therapist will make splints that you wear for as much of the day and night as you can tolerate. As each joint starts to stretch out, a new splint will be made that stretches it even further. The splinting is combined with physiotherapy
. It can be very painful to try to stretch a fixed joint and you will probably need quite strong pain-killers before your treatment session. The process is slow and there is no guarantee of success. If it doesn't work and you can't even sit comfortably, it is sometimes feasible to have an operation to cut the tendons, which are the fibrous bands that connect the muscle to the bone, and stretch the joint out u