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Range of motion (or ROM), is the linear or angular distance that a moving object may normally travel while properly attached to another. It is also called range of travel (or ROT), particularly when talking about mechanical devices and in mechanical engineering fields. For example, a sound volume control knob (a rotary fader) may have a 300° range of travel from the "off" or muted (fully attenuated) position at lower left, going clockwise to its maximum-loudness position at lower right.
As used in the biomedical field and by weightlifters, range of motion refers to the distance and direction a joint can move between the flexed position and the extended position. The act of attempting to increase this distance through therapeutic exercises (range of motion therapy—stretching from flexion to extension for physiological gain) is also sometimes called range of motion.
Each specific joint has a normal range of motion that is expressed in degrees. The reference values for the normal ROM in individuals differ slightly depending on age and gender. For example, as an individual ages, they typically lose a small amount of ROM.
Analog and traditional devices to measure range of motion in the joints of the body include the goniometer and inclinometer which use a stationary arm, protractor, fulcrum, and movement arm to measure angle from axis of the joint. As measurement results will vary by the degree of resistance, two levels of range of motion results are recorded in most cases.
Recent technological advances in 3D motion capture technology allow for the measurement of joints concurrently, which can be used to measure a patient's active range of motion.
Limited range of motion refers to a joint that has a reduction in its ability to move. The reduced motion may be a mechanical problem with the specific joint or it may be caused by injury or diseases such as osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other types of arthritis. Pain, swelling, and stiffness associated with arthritis can limit the range of motion of a particular joint and impair function and the ability to perform usual daily activities.
Limited range of motion can affect extension or flexion. If there is limited range of extension, it is called "Flexion Contracture" or "Flexion Deformity". If the flexion is deficient, it is called "Limited Range of Flexion" or "Limited Flexion Range".
Physical and occupational therapy can help to improve joint function by focusing on range of motion exercises. The goal of these exercises is to gently increase range of motion while decreasing pain, swelling, and stiffness. There are three types of range of motion exercises:
In humans and other primates, the knee joins the thigh with the leg and consists of two joints: one between the femur and tibia, and one between the femur and patella. It is the largest joint in the human body. The knee is a modified hinge joint, which permits flexion and extension as well as slight internal and external rotation. The knee is vulnerable to injury and to the development of osteoarthritis.
In anatomy, the rotator cuff is a group of muscles and their tendons that act to stabilize the shoulder and allow for its extensive range of motion. Of the seven scapulohumeral muscles, four make up the rotator cuff. The four muscles are the supraspinatus muscle, the infraspinatus muscle, teres minor muscle, and the subscapularis muscle.
Torticollis, also known as wry neck, is a dystonic condition defined by an abnormal, asymmetrical head or neck position, which may be due to a variety of causes. The term torticollis is derived from the Latin words tortus for twisted and collum for neck.
Shoulder problems including pain, are one of the more common reasons for physician visits for musculoskeletal symptoms. The shoulder is the most movable joint in the body. However, it is an unstable joint because of the range of motion allowed. This instability increases the likelihood of joint injury, often leading to a degenerative process in which tissues break down and no longer function well.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), is the most common, chronic rheumatic disease of childhood, affecting approximately one per 1000 children. Juvenile, in this context, refers to disease onset before age 16 years, while idiopathic refers to a condition with no defined cause, and arthritis is inflammation within the joint.
A Baker's cyst, also known as a popliteal cyst, is a type of fluid collection behind the knee. Often there are no symptoms. If symptoms do occur these may include swelling and pain behind the knee, or knee stiffness. If the cyst breaks open, pain may significantly increase with swelling of the calf. Rarely complications such as deep vein thrombosis, peripheral neuropathy, ischemia, or compartment syndrome may occur.
Achilles tendinitis, also known as achilles tendinopathy, occurs when the Achilles tendon, found at the back of the ankle, becomes inflamed. The most common symptoms are pain and swelling around the affected tendon. The pain is typically worse at the start of exercise and decreases thereafter. Stiffness of the ankle may also be present. Onset is generally gradual.
Palpation is the process of using one's hands to check the body, especially while perceiving/diagnosing a disease or illness. Usually performed by a health care practitioner, it is the process of feeling an object in or on the body to determine its size, shape, firmness, or location.
Range of motion (ROM) is when a person has become injured in some way, most times the doctor's advice the patients to exercise and stretch the back muscles. For this purpose a form of exercises called range of motion exercises which are used to keep the muscles and joints in the patients back strong and flexible. These exercises can be done by the patient himself, or with a physical therapist. If these exercises are done alone they would be called active range of motion (AROM) exercises and if they require assistance they would be called active-assisted range of motion (AAROM) exercises.
Knee replacement, also known as knee arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace the weight-bearing surfaces of the knee joint to relieve pain and disability. It is most commonly performed for osteoarthritis, and also for other knee diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. In patients with severe deformity from advanced rheumatoid arthritis, trauma, or long-standing osteoarthritis, the surgery may be more complicated and carry higher risk. Osteoporosis does not typically cause knee pain, deformity, or inflammation and is not a reason to perform knee replacement
The interphalangeal joints of the hand are the hinge joints between the phalanges of the fingers that provide flexion towards the palm of the hand.
The acetabular labrum is a ring of cartilage that surrounds the acetabulum of the hip. The anterior portion is most vulnerable when the labrum tears.
Aquatic therapy refers to treatments and exercises performed in water for relaxation, fitness, physical rehabilitation, and other therapeutic benefit. Typically a qualified aquatic therapist gives constant attendance to a person receiving treatment in a heated therapy pool. Aquatic therapy techniques include Ai Chi, Aqua Running, Bad Ragaz Ring Method, Burdenko Method, Halliwick, Watsu, and other aquatic bodywork forms. Therapeutic applications include neurological disorders, spine pain, musculoskeletal pain, postoperative orthopedic rehabilitation, pediatric disabilities, and pressure ulcers.
A tear of a meniscus is a rupturing of one or more of the fibrocartilage strips in the knee called menisci. When doctors and patients refer to "torn cartilage" in the knee, they actually may be referring to an injury to a meniscus at the top of one of the tibiae. Menisci can be torn during innocuous activities such as walking or squatting. They can also be torn by traumatic force encountered in sports or other forms of physical exertion. The traumatic action is most often a twisting movement at the knee while the leg is bent. In older adults, the meniscus can be damaged following prolonged 'wear and tear'. Especially acute injuries can lead to displaced tears which can cause mechanical symptoms such as clicking, catching, or locking during motion of the joint. The joint will be in pain when in use, but when there is no load, the pain goes away.
An ulnar claw, also known as claw hand, or 'Spinster's Claw' is a deformity or an abnormal attitude of the hand that develops due to ulnar nerve damage causing paralysis of the lumbricals. A claw hand presents with a hyper-extension at the metacarpophalangeal joints and flexion at the proximal and distal interphalangeal joints of the 4th and 5th fingers. The patients with this condition can make a full fist but when they extend their fingers, the hand posture is referred to as claw hand. The ring- and little finger can usually not fully extend at the proximal interphalangeal joint (PIP).
The elbow is the visible joint between the upper and lower parts of the arm. It includes prominent landmarks such as the olecranon, the elbow pit, the lateral and medial epicondyles, and the elbow joint. The elbow joint is the synovial hinge joint between the humerus in the upper arm and the radius and ulna in the forearm which allows the forearm and hand to be moved towards and away from the body.
Physical therapy for canines adapts human physical therapy techniques to increase function and mobility of joints and muscles in animals. Animal rehabilitation can reduce pain and enhance recovery from injury, surgery, degenerative diseases, age-related diseases, and obesity.
Arthritis of the knee is typically a particularly debilitating form of arthritis. The knee may become affected by almost any form of arthritis.
Williams flexion exercises (WFE) — also called Williams lumbar flexion exercises — are a set or system of related physical exercises intended to enhance lumbar flexion, avoid lumbar extension, and strengthen the abdominal and gluteal musculature in an effort to manage low back pain non-surgically. The system was first devised in 1937 by Dr. Paul C. Williams (1900-1978), then a Dallas orthopedic surgeon.
The Bad Ragaz Ring Method (BRRM) is a type of aquatic therapy used for physical rehabilitation based on proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). BRRM is a water-based technique in which therapist-assisted strengthening and mobilizing exercises are performed while the patient lies horizontally in the water, with support provided by rings or floats around the neck, arms, pelvis, and legs.