Range of Motion in the Knee Joint

 In Knee

Today we’re looking at range of motion within the knee.

Movement…A well-trained Pilates Teacher has exceptional abilities in observing and teaching movement – But what about when you can see a client or a member of the class presenting with sub-optimal or restricted and limited movement?

You can cue them to try and move differently, but what if they physically can’t get there? Perhaps they have pain or discomfort…perhaps they don’t!

Assessing range of motion is key when it comes to asking our patients to move. Like most things in life, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. And the same applies with range of motion…there are 3 ways you can assess this – Active, Passive and Resisted.

Ultimately, the goal of assessing ROM is two-fold:

  1. To determine the end feel of the motion
  2. To determine whether or not there is pain present during that motion. If there is pain during that motion then it’s important to be able to determine what the intensity, location and quality of that motion is. As well as pain, we’d also be looking to observe for any popping, grinding or clicking within the joint during any of these motions.

Okay, so maybe it’s three-fold…

Today Bonnie shows us all 3 types of ROM and helps us to understand what they mean and why they’re important. So let’s dive in…

Active ROM:

During active range of motion, you’re asking your client to move their knee through flexion, extension, internal rotation and external rotation. During these tasks, it’s important for you to ask your client to let you know if and when they feel pain, or discomfort.

Active ROM is used to test the non-contractile and contractile structures.

Contractile structures are tissues which are capable of contracting either on demand or involuntarily – Such as the muscle belly.

Non-Contractile structures are all of the other tissues, like your bones, ligaments, joint capsules etc…

Passive ROM:

Passive ROM is used to test the non-contractile structures which, as explained above are your joint capsules, ligaments, nerves and their sheaths, bursae, and cartilage.

During Passive ROM, the client is allowing you to move their body. Therefore, you will not be feeling for contraction of any muscles since you are doing the work for them. This type of ROM is for the practitioner to feel for the quality of end range within the joint.

You’ll be feeling for any limitation of motion. When you find that passive end of range, you’ll be feeling for the quality of the tissue resistance to the motion.

Resisted ROM: 

This type of ROM testing is looking at the strength of the contractile tissues – This being the muscles, tendons and attachments.

For Resisted ROM, you can either ask the client to contract the muscles whilst the practitioner resists or prevents movement from happening or the practitioner applies pressure against the client’s contraction so that the client is preventing movement from happening.

Knowing what to do when you have a client presenting with restricted, painful or limited ROM in any of these tests can be hugely beneficial to you and your clients. On our Knee and Foot courses, we delve deeper into this and explore what happens next…

So if this has piqued your interest or you’d like to learn more about this then you can join us on our next Knee and Foot weekend course. For more information, please visit our Courses page or you can get in touch by emailing us at info@pilatestherapy.co.uk

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