According to Resurge International, burns are a neglected health crisis in developing countries, particularly among poor women and children who use open flames for cooking and lighting and don’t have access to medical care when accidents happen. Without immediate access to adequate burn care, burn injuries are left to heal by themselves, creating scar tissue or contractures that can destroy function and movement. A burn contracture is an area of skin that has undergone excessive scarring as a result of healing from a deep burn injury.
Contractures can begin as a slight puckering of the skin, but over time they can worsen, becoming thick bands of scar tissue. These tight bands of scar tissue can restrict joint movement and lead to the loss of mobility. Without splinting or surgery, such contractures can continue years after the original burn injury. Physical therapy and splints can help to limit contractures and increase mobility, but surgery may also be required to release affected tendons, ligaments, and joints. Further, for recent burns, daily dressing of the wound is important to decrease the risk of infection, decrease pain, and create a moist environment that promotes epithelialization. Skin grafts may also be performed to replace damaged skin.