|Where Women Have No Doctor - A Health Guide for Women (Hesperian Foundation, 1997, 600 p.)|
|Chapter 9: Women with Disabilities|
|Taking Care of Your Health|
Some women - for example, those who suffer from arthritis or strokes, or who are in bed because of AIDS or old age - have difficulty moving their arms and legs enough to keep their joints flexible. When this happens, and an arm or a leg is kept bent for a long time, some of the muscles become shorter and the limb cannot fully straighten. Or short muscles may hold a joint straight so that it cannot bend. This is called a contracture. Sometimes contractures cause pain.
To prevent contractures and keep your muscles strong, you need to find someone who can help you exercise your arms and legs every day. Try to make sure that every part of your body is moved. If you have had contractures for many years, it will be difficult to completely straighten your joints. But these exercises will prevent the contractures from getting worse and can make your joints a little less stiff and keep your muscles strong.
Examples of exercises that prevent some contractures and help keep muscles strong