Hesperian Health Guides

Exercises Without Motion

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HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 16: Juvenile Arthritis: Chronic Arthritis in Children > Exercises Without Motion


So it is important that the child learn to do exercises that strengthen the muscles that pull against contractures, not those that make them worse. This will be easiest and least painful if she does exercises without motion.

First help her to learn which muscles move parts of her body in different directions.

a man talks to a child
Push hard against my hand. What do you feel?
The muscle under my arm
gets tight when I push.

Have her exercise these muscles by relaxing and tightening them, without moving her arm.

Then help her find interesting ways to strengthen the muscles that need it without moving them. For example, she can lean on a fence like this.

DVC Ch16 Page 140-4.png

Every day she can step a little farther back from the fence, to take more weight on her arms.
Notice that this exercise also strengthens her kneestraightening muscles and helps stretch her heel cords, wrists, hips, back, and neck, in order to look the llama in the eye.

Note: We have shown these exercises in a girl who already has contractures. But it is best to start them before contractures begin.


You can figure out similar exercises without motion for all the weak muscles that need strengthening to help prevent or correct contractures.

For example, to strengthen the knee-straightening muscles, the child can lie on her back with her leg as straight as possible. Have her tighten the muscles on top of her thigh (without tightening those underneath) and count to 25. Then relax and repeat 10 times. She should do this 3 or 4 times a day. Again, look for ways to make it more fun.

child exercises her leg and talks
Look! I can ring the bell without moving my leg.
DVC Ch16 Page 140-6.png
Tightening this muscle pulls the kneecap and rings the bell. You can strap a small bell or flag to the leg, so that it will ring or move when the knee bone moves.



This page was updated:19 Jan 2018