Trauma Survivors Network - provided by ATS

Survive. Connect. Rebuild.

A Program of the ATS

Range of Motion

Range of motion is the full amount of motion that is possible at a joint. Each joint has a normal range based on the characteristics of the joint and the surrounding soft tissue. Limited range of motion is a reduction in the normal distance and direction through which a joint can move and leads to a decrease in certain functional activities. For example, limited shoulder range of motion leads to an inability to reach into an overhead cabinet. Trauma or immobilization after surgery can lead to a decrease in range of motion. Motion may be limited by a mechanical problem within the joint, by swelling of tissue around the joint, by muscle spasm or guarding, or by pain. Therapists restore or improve range of motion through passive, active-assistive, and active exercises. Exercises are performed in a smooth manner and usually consist of 5 to 10 repetitions at a time. Range of motion is different than stretching, since exercises are not sustained for a prolonged period.

Associated pages

Passive Range of Motion
Active-AssistiveRange of Motion
Active Range of Motion