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What Is Limited Range of Motion?


Updated March 01, 2013

Definition: Range of motion is the normal movement for a joint, specifically:
  • flexion (how far it can be bent)
  • extension (how far it can be stretched out)

Joints are where bones come together. Joints hold the bones together and allow for movement of the skeleton. All of the bones form joints (except the hyoid bone in the neck). Joints are complex structures made up of many parts.

Image: The Structure of a Joint

What Is Limited or Reduced Range of Motion?

Limited range of motion is the reduction of normal movement of joint. Limited range of motion can result from:

What Are Range of Motion Exercises?

Many doctors, physical therapists and occupational therapists recommend exercise for people with arthritis, especially in regard to the joints. Range of motion exercises are gentle stretching exercises that move each joint as far as possible in all directions. Normal daily activities do not take joints through their full range of motion. Range of motion exercises are recommend to help keep joints mobile, prevent stiffness and reduce deformities.

Pronunciation: raynge-of-mo-shun
Also Known As: ROM, R-O-M
Exercises can improve range of motion.

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