Limited Range of Motion
Published on: July 16, 2021

Published By: Southwest Physical Therapy

For various joints in the body, doctors have established ranges they consider to be normal. We call it having limited range of motion whenever any of our joints experiences a reduction in what its normal range of motion is deemed to be. The direction and distance in which a joint can move are both referred to as joint range of motion. For instance, studies have determined that, ideally, it is between 133 and 153 degrees that a normal knee should be able to bend or flex, and that it should also be able to extend until it is completely straight.

As we age, the range of motion in our joints naturally declines, but there are injuries and medical conditions that restrict our mobility too. Chronic diseases such as diabetes and many types of arthritis, obesity, impaired strength, gait and balance, infections, restricted fascia, low physical activity, inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding the joint, joint swelling, muscle stiffness, pain, falls, joint dislocation, elbow and knee fractures, and fractures in other areas are all causes for limited range of motion.

Sometimes, we’re not always aware that we may have a certain limited range of motion. You could end up discovering that you’re also experiencing loss of motion in one or more of your joints after going to see a doctor for something unrelated.

Medical conditions that cause limited range of motion in the joints are:

  • The congenital form of Torticollis that causes a stiff neck with associated muscle spasms
  • Syphilis, an infection that is sexually transmitted (STI) 
  • Sepsis of the hip and other joints, a bacterial infection of the joints
  • Cerebral Palsy (CP), a group of neurological disorders that causes loss of body control and muscle paralysis
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes Disease, a disorder that diminishes blood flow to the joint and thereby causes the top of the thigh bone to die
  • Juvenile RA, an autoimmune form of arthritis in children under the age of 16 years
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), your immune system attacks your joints and thereby causes this autoimmune form of arthritis 
  • Ankylosing Spondylitis, a type of arthritis that primarily targets the spine
  • Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis related to wear and tear of the joints and older age
  • Diabetes Mellitus, a person who persistently has high levels of glucose (sugar) in their blood has this condition, which causes frozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis) – pain and severe limited active and passive range of motion of the glenohumeral joint, particularly external rotation
  • Dementia, conditions that involve cognitive impairment, whose symptoms include memory loss, personality changes, and issues with language, communication, and thinking, all fall under this umbrella term; it’s most common type is Alzheimer’s 
  • Gait and balance disorders are also a major cause of falls, which also hamper mobility

To prevent injury, it is necessary to always stretch adequately before any physical activity such as sports, exercises, and the lifting of heavy objects. Both lifting and carrying heavy objects the proper way, as well as bending your knees properly when lifting and lowering heavy objects, are equally important and essential, to prevent accidents and injuries. Proper dieting and nutrition are also necessary to stay healthy overall. It keeps our muscles, bones, mobility, entire system and structure healthy while maintaining obesity and disease at bay.

You should see your doctor or physical therapist about any reductions in the normal range of motion of your joints, especially if you are not elderly. There is help if you can’t bend or fully straighten one or more of your joints, or if moving a certain joint is giving you difficulty. Many times it is as simple as restricted fascia that’s causing you this.

People commonly want to avoid working out in public places because they feel self-conscious about their injury, weight, disability, or illness. Some, especially older folks, are fearful of falling and otherwise worsening matters with an injury to themselves.  

 At Southwest Physical Therapy, you bypass all this because you have all the privacy in the world to work with your caring and highly experienced physical therapy specialist. We teach you which strengthening and stretching exercises you need to do at home for your particular condition and the diet you must keep, to perfectly supplement our amazing myofascial release therapy treatment and get you as new as possible. Myofascial release therapy, in conjunction with certain exercises that boost its incredible results, improves and maintains the flexibility in muscles and joints and chases chronic pain away. Southwest Physical Therapy educates and heals, bringing peace and happiness to its extended family of satisfied patients that are grateful. Come join this blessed club!

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