Why Do You Lose Range Of Motion After Surgery?

What Is Limited Range of Motion?


The range of motion of the joint applies both to the distance a joint can travel and the direction it can move in. There are specified ranges that physicians consider common for different joints in the body.

For example, a normal knee should ideally be able to flex or bend to between 133 and 153 degrees by one study Trusted Source decided. And you should also be able to stretch a typical knee so that it is fully straight.

A decline in the normal range of motion is defined as a reduced range of motion in either of the joints. As you age, the joint range of motion naturally decreases, but it can also happen under a variety of circumstances.

To enhance and retain flexibility in the joints, some exercises can be useful.

What causes a limited range of motion in the joints?

Medical conditions

Medical conditions associated with a limited range of motion in the joints include:

  • ankylosing spondylitis, which is a type of arthritis that primarily affects the spine
  • The most common type of arthritis due to older age and wear and tear of the joints is osteoarthritis (OA),
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an inflammatory type of arthritis induced by an attack on your joints by your immune system
  • The autoimmune type of arthritis that occurs in children under the age of 16 years is juvenile RA.
  • Cerebral palsy (CP), a category of neurological disorders causing weakness of the muscles and loss of control of the body.
  • Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, which is a condition that causes the top of the thigh bone to die because of the joint’s lack of blood supply.
  • sepsis of the hip and other joints, which is a bacterial infection of the joints
  • a congenital form of torticollis, which is a stiff neck associated with muscle spasms
  • syphilis, which is a sexually transmitted infection (STI)

Other causes

Other causes of restricted range of motion include:

  • inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding the joint, or joint swelling
  • muscle stiffness
  • pain
  • joint dislocation
  • elbow fractures
  • fractures in other areas of the body

When should I see my doctor?

Speak to your doctor about any reductions in your joints’ usual range of motion. If you can’t completely straighten or bend one or more joints or if you’re having trouble moving a certain joint, you should also go to the doctor.

People are not always conscious of their own restricted movement spectrum. For an unrelated cause, you might see a doctor and find that you are also experiencing a lack of mobility in one or more of your joints.

How is the limited range of motion diagnosed?

A physical examination would typically consist of your initial appointment. An inspection of the damaged joints would require this. Your doctor can ask questions, such as questions about your restricted range of motion,:

  • When did the problem start?
  • Are you experiencing discomfort?
  • Where is it occurring?
  • Are you having any other symptoms?

The role of your bones, muscles, or nervous system can also be assessed by your doctor. Your doctor can schedule some tests, such as X-rays of the spine and joints, for follow-up purposes.

Your doctor can prescribe a physical therapy course designed to improve your range of motion.

How can I prevent limited range of motion?

Specifically, the range of motion exercises aim for joint flexibility. With a physical trainer, you can perform a variety of movement activities. You can also be advised by your doctor or physical therapist about activities that you can do at home easily.

These can help you preserve or increase the versatility of the joint, which helps with general freedom and ease of movement.

Three general categories of motion exercise spectrum are available: active, active assistive, and passive.

You can do active exercises without the assistance of another person.

Your effort and the effort of another person depend on successful assistive exercises. The other one is also a physical therapist. If it is difficult to stretch or expand the joint on your own, these exercises are beneficial.

Passive activities rely solely on the physical therapist or another individual’s commitment.

These are usually done when the individual seeking care is not able to execute the movement on their own physically.

It will significantly improve the flexibility and ease of movement to perform a variety of motion exercises. However, before trying to perform a range of motion exercise for the first time, always consult with your doctor.

It is important to maintain proper alignment and shape to ensure that you do not hurt yourself.

Are You Looking for Post Operative Rehabilitation? 

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in Post Operative Rehabilitation and recovery therapies.  We pride ourselves on offering the best possible physical therapy available and going above and beyond for our patients. Our highly experienced physical therapist will work with you to improve your function and relieve your pain. At Pace Physical Therapy, individualized post-surgical recovery not only minimizes your pain and speeds up the healing time, but it can also decrease the chances of postoperative complications, including infections, bleeding, blood clots, muscle fatigue, scar tissue, reduced function, and other factors that can affect your long-term health negatively. The ability to help you minimize or fully stop prescribed painkillers, including opioids, is another important justification for choosing post-surgical physical therapy. Contact us today to schedule your appointment!