Contracture in Seniors: Why You Should Treat them in a Timely Manner?
Muscle contracture is basically a restriction of movement in the joint of the elderly where even an assistant cannot completely bend or flex it. It occurs due to various reasons:
skin scar over the joint;
joint diseases that modify the shape of the contacting bones: arthrosis or arthritis ;
muscle diseases, whose contraction and relaxation ensures the movement of this joint;
diseases and injuries of tendons or ligaments, due to which the bone joint cannot move in the same amplitude;
diseases that make movement in the joint painful;
disorders of the nervous system (stroke, brain tumors, spinal cord injuries) in which the muscles that move the joint are unable to contract;
mental disorders that force a person to stay in one position for a long time.
The first 5 reasons are the passive type of contracture in a bed patient, and the last two, for which there are no obstacles in the joint itself – are known as active contracture.
If you, while helping your elderly relative to turn around, suddenly notice that their leg or arm is very “tight”, it is bent or unbent, even if it does not hurt them, know that it may be the sign of muscle contracture. In this case, even if you make an effort to give the limbs the correct position, after a while, the joint may return to their original position.
This is because there has already been a change in the muscles that move the joint. Contractures in a bedridden patient may also range in terms of their severity.
Why an elderly must treat muscle contractures immediately?
during muscle contracture, the body is likely to go into the “saving mode”: it reduces the blood supply to those muscles that do not work;
if the treatment of contracture in a bed patient is not performed anyway, the muscles with “cut down” nutrition may decrease first in volume (atrophy) and then in length;
shortening of the muscles further immobilizes the joint, strengthening the contracture;
At this stage, if a senior does not pay attention to their condition, the muscle tissue may replace themselves with the connective tissues, which requires much more power and lead to ankylosis. Unlike contracture, ankylosis can be cured only by surgery.
Contractures can further limit the mobility of the bed patient. If they develop in the knee or the hip joints, they may prevent the patient from changing their position in the bed on their own. The condition may also increase the odds of a major disease like congestive pneumonia.
Medigap for Seniors: Medicare supplement plans found here https://www.medicaresupplementplans2020.com/ enable older adults to pay for expenses like copay and co-insurance.