Burn Center

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Exercise

Exercise is movements to stretch or strengthen parts of the body. Burn patients stretch their skin so it will heal well. After a burn injury, exercise and therapy includes stretching, working, playing, using splints and positioning!

When someone has a burn injury he or she must work hard to keep the body strong and flexible to get healthy again. A therapist will teach exercises that will help the body heal in the best way possible. Exercises to accomplish this task might include:

Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Making funny faces

Head & face

Making funny faces.

Neck

  • Looking to each side
  • Looking up and down
  • Watching TV with the neck stretched over a pillow
Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Arms and thumbs

Arms & hands

  • Jumping jacks
  • Lifting weights
  • Making fists
  • Practice writing
  • Holding a fork, spoon or knife
  • Holding and bouncing a small ball
Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Legs

Legs

  • Jumping jacks
  • Lifting weights
  • Walking or running
  • Riding a bike

Getting well after a severe burn injury usually involves graft surgeries, and it also includes therapy. In therapy, a person might do exercises, wear splints and work to regain independence (being able to do things by yourself again). It may be a long time after a burn until a person is able to self-feed or to walk alone. It is important to start doing things independently (without anyone else’s help) as soon as possible. Some examples of doing things by yourself that might be difficult include dressing, eating and playing. Additional new tasks and responsibility in a daily routine often includes wearing:

Regions Hospital - Burn Center - Transparent masks
  • Bandages
  • Compression garments
  • Transparent face masks
  • Mouth splints
  • Neck splints

One of the most common complaints after a burn injury is that it seems like the skin feels tight and doesn’t want to move. This feeling is real and normal. This is because as the burned skin heals, it shrinks and becomes tight and harder to move. This is very frustrating! The burned skin is tightest and stiffest in the morning right after waking up. This is because when we sleep, we are not exercising or moving and the burned or grafted skin has a chance to shrink and tighten. It is very important to work on exercises every day and especially every morning after getting up. This will help stretch out the tight skin so that moving the rest of the day will be easier.