You may have heard of the term ‘Range of Motion’ (ROM) being used during your knee rehab journey, and wondered why it is such an important aspect of your recovery? Well, if you’re new to this term, this blog is a fantastic starting point to discover what range of motion is and why it is so important.
What is Range of Motion?
ROM in a joint is the ability of that joint to move within a given distance (measured in degrees) and in a particular distance (i.e extension). We actually practice ROM everyday – lifting up your cup of tea, putting your socks on in the morning. These all require joints to move over a certain range. Each joint has a reference value for what would be considered typical ROM. For example, your knee should be able to extend to 0° and bend to 150°.
ROM is generally measured using a device called a goniometer, often used in physiotherapy. It is used by medical professionals to measure the exact degree of joint mobility, allowing for them to be able to determine if there has been a decrease in ROM.
The importance of ROM in daily life?
In order to perform basic day to day activities such as walking, it is vital to have a good ROM in your joints. When one joint becomes stiff and loses mobility it makes it more difficult to perform everyday activities pain-free.
Factors that play a role in ROM.
- Body Composition
Body composition refers to the components of your body such as bones, muscles, ligaments, adipose tissue (body fat). As humans, we all have unique body structures and compositions – which is completely normal. However, these differences can have an impact on the ROM of each individual. Excessive muscle or adipose tissue will impede a normal ROM. For example, it is important for an athlete to consider how much muscle bulk they want to add when designing their training programme, as this could restrict their specific movement related to their sport.
Mobility is the joint’s ability to move through its full ROM. If your mobility is good, moving through the ROM happens pain free. However, poor mobility may cause you to experience tightness or pain when trying to go through the joints ROM. For example, if your latissimus dorsi muscles (back muscles) are too tight, this can limit how much you can raise your arms in front of your shoulder.
- Injuries/Post Operation
During times of injury, joints are generally limited to a smaller ROM. This is due to the increased inflammation, swelling and pain that will limit your ability to move in that area.
Similarly, after surgery – especially any joint replacement surgery – there will be a limited ROM. Due to swelling, inflammation and pain. Additionally, when a joint or a muscle is damaged this will impact the strength and function of that muscle/joint – it is important to consult with medical professionals on what activities you can carry out post injury/operation.
How could I Maintain or Improve My Range of Motion?
- Stretching tight muscles is vital for optimal ROM. Performing daily stretches keeps your muscles flexible and helps prevent stiffness which may limit your mobility.
- Staying Active, going for daily walks, riding your bike or going to yoga are all great examples of low impact activities that you can incorporate into your weekly schedule – staying active is a great way to keep your joints mobile!
- Consult a medical professional, if you are experiencing a decrease in ROM of a joint. You should consult with a medical professional to get a diagnosis of your injury – they may be able to create a program to help you increase ROM in your joint.
How could Bodii help you measure your ROM?
The Bodii team has developed a simple wearable device that accurately monitors the range of motion in the knee following a related injury or procedure, allowing you to track & visualise your recovery overtime. Through smart data and improved accuracy of measurements, we aim to get users back to their pre-injury state quickly and safely.
Read more into Bodii here: https://www.bodii.uk/bodii-device/