Due to improvements in acute burn care over the last few decades, most patients with severe burns (up to 90% of the total body surface) survive. However, the metabolic and cardiovascular complications that accompany a severe burn can persist for up to 3 years post injury. Accordingly, there is now a greater appreciation of the need for strategies that can hasten recovery and reduce long-term morbidity post burn. Rehabilitation exercise training (RET) is a proven effective treatment to restore lean body mass, glucose and protein metabolism, cardiorespiratory fitness, and muscle strength in burn survivors. Despite this, very few hospitals incorporate RET in programs to aid the rehabilitation of patients with severe burns. Given that RET is a safe and efficacious treatment that restores function and reduces post-burn morbidity, we propose that a long-term exercise prescription plan should be considered for all patients with severe burns. In this literature review, we discuss the current understanding of burn trauma on major organ systems, and the positive benefits of incorporating RET as a part of the long-term rehabilitation of severely burned individuals. We also provide burn-specific exercise prescription guidelines for clinical exercise physiologists.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation