Health Problem: Joint contracture refers to a decreased range of motion (ROM) in joints. Contractures may occur with joint disease, trauma, healing, or may be secondary to elasticity-limiting structural changes in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and/or skin. For knees, surgical repair of the knee ligaments, particularly the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and total knee arthroplasty (TKA) present a postoperative risk of contracture.

Technology Description: The goal of continuous passive motion (CPM) is to maintain or restore ROM. CPM employs a motorized device that moves the affected joint through a prescribed arc of motion without any active muscle contraction for an extended period of time.

Controversy: Despite widespread use, it is unclear whether CPM provides any benefit over immobilization, manual passive mobilization, and/or other rehabilitative protocols.

Key Questions:

  • Does CPM improve clinical outcomes compared with standard care rehabilitation strategies such as physical therapy?
  • What complications are associated with CPM?
  • Have definitive patient selection criteria been established?

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