RANGE OF MOTION

Range of Motion is the measurement of movement around a specific joint or body part.

Let's say a football player has torn a ligament in his knee and is working with a physical therapist to try and regain his range of motion. Initially, he was rather limited in his movement, but since performing the stretching exercises regularly, the therapist has confirmed that his range of motion has been getting closer to his pre-injury level of functioning.

There are three primary types of exercises specific to range of motion. Passive range of motion is typically practiced on a joint that is inactive. The physical therapist may use this exercise on a client who is paralysed or unable to mobilise a specific joint. This type of exercise can help prevent stiffness from occurring. During this exercise the patient does not perform any movement, while the therapist stretches the patient's soft tissues.

Active-assistive range of motion exercises are more progressive, intended for the client to perform movement around the joint with some manual assistance from the physical therapist or from a strap or band. These exercises can often feel painful, and the muscles can feel weak. Increasing range of motion with these exercises should be a gradual advancement.

Active range of motion exercises are highly independent, performed solely by the client. The physical therapist's role may be simply to provide verbal cues.