Rehabilitation for Burn Injuries
After severe burn injuries, patients may undergo skin grafting surgery. Tissue that has been grafted may become very tight, and can severely restrict the range of motion needed for functional activities. As patients recover, a rehabilitation program is necessary to help patients resume daily living skills and regain the necessary endurance, strength and balance needed for every day activities.
With the help of a physical therapist, range of motion and stretching exercises may be performed frequently to avoid skin tightness and joint contractures. The physical therapist may also perform scar and soft tissue massage and guide the patient in strength-training activities. Scar massage and range of motion exercises may continue for up to one year after sustaining a burn. An occupational therapist works with the patient to regain regular movement and function so that they may perform regular daily activities again. Patients are advised to perform as many normal activities as possible to strengthen and increase flexibility for day to day tasks.
In addition to the medical care and physical therapy necessary after serious burns, patients can take part in their own rehabilitative care by remaining active and exercising the affected areas. Without movement and exercise, a contracture, or a tightening and thickening of scar tissue, may develop, and impede mobility.