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Limited range of motion is a reduction in the normal distance and direction through which a joint can move.
Range of motion is the distance and direction of movement of a joint. Limited range of motion is a term meaning that a specific joint or body part cannot move through its normal range of motion.
Motion may be limited by a mechanical problem within the joint, by swelling of tissue around the joint, by stiffness of the muscles, or by pain.
Diseases that prevent a joint from fully extending may, over time, produce contracture deformities, causing permanent inability to extend the joint beyond a certain fixed position.
Your health care provider may recommend range of motion exercises, designed to increase muscle strength and flexibility. Continue these exercises at home.
Visit your health care provider if a joint does not move fully and easily in its normal way. If a joint develops (new) changes in its ability to move, the affected part should be examined to determine the cause.
The health care provider will perform a physical examination and will ask you about your medical history. Questions may include:
Note: Limited range of motion may be discovered by the health care provider during an examination for other conditions, and the affected person may or may not have been aware of its presence.
Physical therapy may be recommended.
DeLee JC, Drez D Jr, Miller MD, eds. DeLee and Drez’s Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2009.
Firestein GS, Budd RC, Harris ED Jr, et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008.