- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Volkmann's contracture

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Ischemic muscle contracture (flexion contracture) due to external pressure causing irreversible necrosis of muscle tissue, usually seen in the hand and resulting in claw hand. It is most frequently observed in children. Other symptoms include burning pain, weakness or paralysis in hand and forearm. It usually results from impaired circulation following an elbow injury or improper application of a tourniquet.

    "For years I have called attention to the fact that the pareses and contractures of limbs following application of tight bandages are caused not by pressure paralysis of nerves, as formerly assumed, but by the rapid and massive deterioration of contractile substance and by…reactive and regenerative processes."
    Die ischämischen Muskellähmungen und -kontracturen.


  • R. Volkmann:
    Krankheiten der Bewegungsorgane. In: Pitha-Billroth, publishers: Handbuch der allgemeinen und speciellen Chirurgie, volume 2: 845-920. Erlangen, 1869. Die ischämischen Muskellähmungen und Kontracturen.
    Centralblatt für Chirurgie, Leipzig, 1881, 8: 801-803.

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