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J Pediatr Orthop. 2005 May-Jun;25(3):314-6.

The effectiveness of physiotherapy after operative treatment of supracondylar humeral fractures in children.

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Department of Traumatology, Hand and Reconstructive Surgery, University of Ulm, Steinhoevelstrasse 9, 89075 Ulm, Germany.


The indications for physiotherapy after supracondylar humeral fractures in children are not clear in the literature, even in the presence of an active or passive limitation of elbow joint motion. The authors therefore performed a prospective randomized study to assess the effectiveness of physiotherapy in improving the elbow range of motion after such fractures. The authors studied two groups of 21 and 22 children with supracondylar humeral fractures Felsenreich types II and III, all without associated neurovascular deficits. All children were treated by open reduction and internal fixation with Kirschner wires inserted from the radial side of the humerus. Postoperative follow-up at 12 and 18 weeks showed a significantly better elbow range of motion in the group with weekly physiotherapy, but there was no difference in elbow motion after 1 year. In each group, one child had an extension deficit of 15 or 20 degrees. The authors conclude that postoperative physiotherapy is unnecessary in children with supracondylar humeral fractures without associated neurovascular injuries.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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