Hesperian Health Guides

Exercises and Positions to Help Avoid Pressure Sores and Contractures

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HealthWiki > Disabled Village Children > Chapter 42: Range-of-Motion and Other Exercises > Exercises and Positions to Help Avoid Pressure Sores and Contractures


Children who spend a lot of time lying or sitting, or have lost feeling in their butts, should NOT SPEND ALL DAY SITTING DOWN. This can cause pressure sores, contractures of the hips and knees, and back deformities.

Pressure sores on butt
Pressure sores

boy with hip and knee contracted
Hips and knees are contracted (cannot be straightened) from sitting too much.
When you spend time sitting in a wheelchair (or any chair) lift yourself up with your arms like this and count to 25 every 15 or 20 minutes.
boy lifting himsele up from a wheelchair
Be sure to use a soft cushion.
Lifting up often is especially important for people who do not have feeling in their butt, so that they do not get sores on their bottom.

Spend a part of the day lying down with your shoulders up like this. (For other designs see "Padding and cushions for lying" and "Meeting the Special Physical Needs of Children at School".)
girl lying on her belly on the floor with shoulders up while writing
cushions or foam rubber wedges

You can do schoolwork lying down. Try to arrange things with the teacher so that you can spend part of your day lying down.

boy lying on belly on a table and writing with hands at a lower level
If the child cannot straighten enough to lie on the floor, he can lie on a table, and work or play with his hands at a lower level, as shown here.

This page was updated:19 Jan 2018