Alterations in functional movement after axillary burn scar contracture: A motion analysis study

Tina L Palmieri, Kyria Petuskey, Anita Bagley, Sally Takashiba, David G Greenhalgh, George T Rab

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Children with axillary burns often develop scar contractures that restrict shoulder movement. Objective data on functional movement patterns after contracture formation is sparse. The purpose of this study was to determine how axillary contractures affect shoulder movement during activities of daily living (ADLs). This was a prospective study of children with axillary contractures scheduled for surgical release. Three-dimensional upper extremity kinematic analysis was used to assess shoulder, elbow, and trunk motion during two ADLs: high reach and hand to back pocket. Results were compared with a pool of 49 normal agematched controls. Eleven children with axillary contractures were compared with controls. During high reach, significant decreases in shoulder flexion, shoulder internal rotation, arm pronation, and trunk extension occurred. Elbow flexion increased significantly. In the hand to back pocket task, shoulder extension and elbow flexion decreased and shoulder abduction increased. Axillary contractures result in quantifiable movement changes during ADLs. Aggressive rehabilitation is required to prevent contracture formation. Three-dimensional motion analysis is a unique tool for the quantification of functional limitations and provides an objective method to evaluate treatment efficacy in patients with axillary contractures.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-108
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Burn Care and Rehabilitation
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Surgery
  • Nursing(all)
  • Health Professions(all)
  • Emergency Medicine


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