Definition of contracture in English:



  • [mass noun] A condition of shortening and hardening of muscles, tendons, or other tissue, often leading to deformity and rigidity of joints.

    ‘contracture of the hip in cerebral palsy’
    [count noun] ‘the contractures had been caused by intramuscular injections’
    • ‘General management of the arthritic process is important, with physiotherapy to prevent joint contracture.’
    • ‘During the immobilization of a fracture, all nonimmobilized parts must be moved to avoid stiffness, muscle atrophy and joint contractures.’
    • ‘This minimises the risk of wound contracture causing ectropion.’
    • ‘Forearm and lower leg measurements cross joints and could be affected by joint deformity such as contracture.’
    • ‘In capsular contracture, scar tissue forms around the breast implant and contracts, which can result in pain and loss of breast contour.’


Mid 17th century: from French, or from Latin contractura, from Latin contract- drawn together, from the verb contrahere.