Even though there are more than 180 joints in the body, when it comes to moving you around, they can be broken down into 3 types:
1. ball and socket joints
2. hinge joints
3. multiple joints.
The larger ball and socket joints located at your pelvis and the smaller ball and socket joints of the shoulder comprise your core structure.
The 4 limbs then follow the pattern of a strong but less flexible hinge joint followed by a more flexible multiple joint.
Each joint has a general range of motion within which it can efficiently function.
Joint flexibility is defined as the range of motion (ROM) allowed at a joint. A joint’s range of motion is usually measurad by the number of degrees from the starting position of a segment to its position at the end of its full range of the movement.
In physical therapy, goniometer is an instrument which measures the range of motion.
Normal range of motion for joints:
- Schoulder flexion: 0-90
- Schouldar extension: 0-50
- Schoulder abduction: 0-90
- Schoulder adduction: 90-0
- Schoulder lateral rotation: 0-90
- Schoulder medial rotation: 0-90
- Elbow flexion: 0-160
- Elbow extension: 145-0
- Elbow pronation: 0-90
- Elbow supination: 0-90
- Wrist flexion: 0-90
- Wrist extension: 0-70
- Wrist abduction: 0-25
- Wrist adduction: 0-65
- Metacarpophalangeal abduction: 0-25
- Metacarpophalangeal adduction: 20-0
- Metacarpophalangeal flexion: 0-90
- Metacarpophalangeal extension: 0-30
- Interphalangeal proximal joints of fingers flexion: 0-120
- Interphalangeal proximal extension: 120-0
- Interphalangeal distal joint of fingers flexion: 0-80
- Interphalangeal distal extension: 80-0
- Metacarpophalangeal joint of thumb abduction: 0-50
- Metacarpphalangeal of thumb adduction: 40-0
- Metacarpophalangeal of thumb flexion: 0-70
- Mmetacarpophalangeal of thumb extension: 60-0
- Interphalangeal joint of thumb flexion: 0-90
- Interphalangeal joint of thumb extension: 90-0
- Hip flexion: 0-125
- Hip extension: 115-0
- Hip abduction: 0-45
- Hip adduction: 45-0
- Hip lateral rotation: 0-45
- Hip medial rotatuon: 0-45
- Knee flexion: 0-130
- Knee extension: 120- 0
- Ankle plantar flexion: 0-50
- Ankle dorsalflexion: 0-20
- Foot inversion: 0-35
- Foot eversion: 0-25
- Metatarsophalangeal joints flexion: 0-30
- Metatarsophalangeal joints extension: 0-80
- Interphalangeal toe flexion: 0-50
- Interphalangeal toe extension: 50-0
Physical therapy can help to improve joint function by focusing on range-of-motion exercises.
Range of motion exercicises need to be done daily to help keep joints fully mobile and prevent stiffness and deformities.
There are three types of range-of-motion exercises:
- Active range-of-motion ( AROM) – patient performs the exercise to move the joint without any assistance
- Active assistive range-of-motion (AAROM) – patient requires some help from the physical therapist to do the exercises
- Passive range-of-motion (PROM) – physical therapist moves patient through range of motion
All movement requires a coordination of joints which emanates from your core structure outward to the extremities. As long as this integrated joint system remains alignment, overall motion is fluid, accurate, and wonderfully invigorating. Should postural deviations develop, however, the whole structure starts wrenching out of alignment.