Lower-Limb Muscular Strength, Balance, and Mobility Levels in Adults Following Severe Thermal Burn Injuries

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Severe burn injuries are associated with hypermetabolic response and increased catabolism. These lead to a vast loss of muscle mass and reduced muscle strength and function. Therefore, the aim of this study is to determine the impact of severe burn injuries on lower-limb muscular strength, balance, and mobility level in adults. Forty burned adults with burned TBSA (burned TBSA) ≥40% participated in this study. The peak torque and total work of quadriceps and knee flexors were calculated at 150°/sec using Biodex isokinetic dynamometer. Balance and mobility were tested via the Biodex balance device and the high mobility assessment tool, respectively. Twenty-three matched nonburned healthy adults were evaluated and served as a control group. Severely burned adults exhibited significantly lower peak torque and total work in their quadriceps (27.50 and 22.58%, P < .05) and knee flexors (23.72, and 21.65%, P < .05) relative to the nonburned adults. Burned adults had a significant decrease in stability index and balance including the dynamic limits of stability (P < .05). The high mobility assessment tool scores were significantly lower (42 ± 7.64, P < .05) when compared with control subjects (51 ± 1.62). Patients who had severe burns (burned TBSA ≥ 40%) showed muscular weakness, limited balance, and mobility levels between 16 and 24 weeks after discharge from the hospital compared with matched nonburned control subjects. These results can guide therapists in creating rehabilitation programs that focus on the specific difficulties faced by burned patients.

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