Fighting Axilla Burn Contracture Head On: A Retrospective Review of End of Range Axilla Splinting in the Paediatric Population

Ms Rhianydd Thomas1,2, Ms  Stephanie  Wicks1, Mrs Claire Toose1, Dr Verity Pacey2

1The Children’s Hospital At Westmead, Westmead, Australia, 2Macquarie University, North Ryde, Australia


Burns to the axilla region pose a significant challenge to the treating therapist due to the wide range of movement, difficulty achieving a prolonged end of range stretch and the concavity of the axilla, which greatly increases the potential for joint contracture. Standard clinical care at a major paediatric tertiary hospital involves splinting the axilla at end of range abduction for prolonged periods. Anecdotally, it has been noted that adherence to this splinting regime has resulted in excellent range of movement outcomes with very few adverse events recorded.
The project aims primarily to describe range of movement outcomes resulting from end of range axilla splinting. We also aim to identify the extent of variance to which child and burn injury characteristics can predict axilla contracture and subsequent need for non-surgical or surgical intervention within 1 year post burn.
A retrospective review of all patients requiring management of an axilla burn in a 10 year period has been conducted. Descriptive analysis of data will be performed to describe the population characteristics and outcomes at 3, 6, 9, 12, 18 and 24 months post axilla burn injury. A multiple linear regression analysis will be conducted to predict the extent to which baseline variables affect outcomes and to determine if adherence to splinting in the first 3 months is predictive of range of motion outcomes.


Rhianydd Thomas is a burns physiotherapist at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead. She is currently completing a Master of Research focusing on management of axilla burns.

Recent Comments