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We all depend on our muscles and joints working together properly to get around safely. The ability of our joints to move is called the range of motion. All our bodily movements depend on the range of motion (ROM) available in synovial joints.
When we are healthy, our knees, elbows, wrists, etc., all can bend and flex to their maximum amount. However, their ability to move after an injury or surgery may diminish. Through therapy and exercise, we can regain most, if not all, of our range of motion. These exercises target the joints and surrounding muscles to increase flexibility and strength.
When we are young, healthy, and active, our joints and muscles that control movement have a full range of motion. It means we can flex our knees, hips, elbows, etc., to their total capacity. However, an injury or surgery (such as a knee replacement) sometimes causes the joints and muscles surrounding them to lose flexibility. This loss of range can diminish stability and coordination as well as pain and stiffness.
Also, as we age, we can lose some of our flexibility and range of motion. The disease can also be a contributing factor to joint stiffness. For example, Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other types of arthritis can cause joint stiffness and swelling.
The range of motion of joints is measured in degrees. Your physical therapist measures your range of motion with a goniometer. These works much like a protractor, measuring angles. Fabrication Enterprises makes a baseline 360° clear plastic goniometer that can be placed on the joint to measure its range. They even offer a wall-mounted version that measures hip movement easier.
An arthrodial protractor is ideal for measuring all major articulations, utilizing a bubble level to identify the horizontal plane. There is even a small goniometer to measure small finger joints. These are often made of clear plastic or metal and even incorporate soft, comfortable materials.
Measurement varies depending upon which joint we are talking about and the different movements that joint can make. The extension and flexion, abduction and adduction, and lateral and medial rotation all have normal values depending on the joint. In an article Carol Eustice gives some examples of the normal range of motion. They are:
|Hip Movement||ROM (measured in degrees)|
|Hip flexion (bending)||0°-125°|
|Hip extension (straightening)||115° – 0°|
|Hip hyperextension (straightening beyond normal range)|
|Hip abduction (move away from the central axis of the body)||0° – 45°|
|Hip adduction (move towards the central axis of the body)||45° – 0°|
|Hip lateral rotation (rotation away from the center of the body)||0° – 45°|
|Hip medial rotation (rotation towards the center of the body)||0° – 45°|
|Shoulder Movement||ROM (measured in degrees)|
|Shoulder flexion||0° – 90°|
|Shoulder extension||0° – 50°|
|Shoulder abduction||0° – 90°|
|Shoulder adduction||90° – 0°|
|Shoulder lateral rotation||0° – 90°|
|Shoulder medial rotation||0° – 90°|
|Knee Movement||ROM (measured in degrees)|
|Knee flexion||0° – 130°|
|Knee extension||120° – 0°|
|Elbow Movement||ROM (measured in degrees)|
|Elbow flexion||0° – 160°|
|Elbow extension||145° – 0°|
|Elbow pronation (rotation inward)||0° – 90°|
|Elbow supination (rotation outward)||0° – 90°|
Instruments to measure the range of motion of joints, including fingers and toes, determine the distance and direction a particular joint can move to its full potential. HPFY offers a wide range of products from top manufacturers.
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Taikhum Sadiq has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2016.
He is an archaeology student and is passionate about learning about the past and how it impacts our future. He believes ...
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