Regular stretching is of enormous benefit for children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. It is recommended that a stretching routine is put in place as early as possible, and that it is done daily or at least 4 to 6 times a week - particularly of the tendons, the achilles, hamstring and ileo-tibial bands. Stretching can delay contractures. This is when muscles around the joints such as the ankles, knees, hips, elbows, wrists, and fingers shorten and become fixed. A physiotherapist will suggest a range of stretches to alleviate fixations.

If contractures become extreme, surgery can be carried out to relieve them, but it may mean that leg braces will then have to be worn.

Your physiotherapist will also recommend braces and splints - also called orthotics or orthoses - which keep patients' hands, feet, knees and back in the correct position. It is recommended that you begin using leg splints at night, as soon as a DMD diagnosis is made. These keep feet in the most comfortable position during sleep, so bedclothes don't pull them in other directions. They come with a variety of designs and colours to encourage children to wear them.

Please watch the videos below, which were created by PTC Therapeutics and filmed at Leeds Children's Hospital with kind permission from the patient, his family and Lindsey Pallant, Senior Physiotherapist, part of the Leeds Neuromuscular Team.

You can find more videos on the Scottish Muscle Network's website.

Calf muscle/foot and ankle stretch:

Using a standing wedge:

Hip Flexor stretch:

Hip abductor/ IT band stretch:

Knee/ hamstring stretch:

Elbow, wrist and hand:

Wrist and hand self-stretch: