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Range of Motion

Range of motion refers to the directions and limits of movement in each joint of the body. During evaluation, range of motion is measured using a full circle, half circle, or finger goniometer. To measure range of motion of a joint, the stationary arm of the goniometer is placed parallel to the longitudinal axis proximal to the joint, and the movable arm is placed parallel to the longitudinal axis distal to the joint. The goniometer must be placed in correct alignment with the joint for the measurement to be accurate. Measurements are always recorded in degrees of movement.

Terms
Passive Range of Motion (PROM) – the amount of movement measured while the therapist moves the joint with no help from the patient.

Active Range of Motion (AROM) – the amount of movement measured while the patient actively moves the joint.

Active Assistive Range of Motion (AAROM) – the amount of movement measured while the patient actively moves the joint with gravity eliminated or with assistance from the therapist.

Within Normal Limits (WNL) – the end range of motion is within what is considered normal movement for that joint.
Within Functional Limits (WFL) – the end range of motion has some limitations, but is within what is considered functional for that joint.

This video shows a demonstration of a quick screening of active upper extremity range of motion. A screening can be completed when no functional range of motion limitations are expected based on the patient’s diagnosis.

Measurement of Upper Extremity Range of Motion

Joint and Motion Goniometer Axis Placement Stationary Arm Placement Movable Arm Placement Normal Range Photo/Video
Shoulder Flexion On the lateral surface of the glenohumeral joint, about 1 inch below the acromion process. Parallel to the midline of the trunk. Parallel to the lateral surface of the longitudinal axis of the humerus. 0-180° Demonstration of goniometer measurement of shoulder flexion and shoulder abduction.
Shoulder Extension On the lateral surface of the glenohumeral joint, about 1 inch below the acromion process. Parallel to the midline of the trunk. Parallel to the lateral surface of the longitudinal axis of the humerus. 0-60° Demonstration of goniometer measurement of shoulder extension.
Shoulder Abduction A point on the surface of either the anterior or posterior surface of the glenohumeral joint. Along the lateral trunk, parallel to the spine. Parallel to the longitudinal axis of the humerus. 0-180°
Shoulder Horizontal Abduction On the top of the acromion process. Placed on the superior aspect, parallel to the longitudinal axis of the humerus. The stationary arm stays in this position even though the longitudinal axis of the humerus moves. Placed on the superior aspect, parallel to the longitudinal axis of the humerus. 0-90° Demonstration of goniometer measurement of horizontal abduction and adduction.
Shoulder Horizontal Adduction On the top of the acromion process. Placed on the superior aspect, parallel to the longitudinal axis of the humerus. The stationary arm stays in this position even though the longitudinal axis of the humerus moves. Placed on the superior aspect, parallel to the longitudinal axis of the humerus. 0-45°
Internal Rotation On the olecranon process of the ulna with the arm positioned in 90° shoulder abduction and 90° elbow flexion. Perpendicular to the floor and parallel to the lateral trunk. Parallel to the longitudinal axis of the ulna. 0-70° Demonstration of goniometer measurements of internal and external rotation of the shoulder.
External Rotation On the olecranon process of the ulna with the arm positioned in 90° shoulder abduction and 90° elbow flexion. Perpendicular to the floor and parallel to the lateral trunk. Parallel to the longitudinal axis of the ulna. 0-90°


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