Range of Motion exercises or ROM exercises is about improving flexibility and mobility of the stiff joints. Stiffness or swelling in the joints can result in reduction of movement. Moreover, age, disorders, or an injury can further worsen joint health. Range of Motion is a term that describes movement in each joint. The related exercises are performed to improve the mobility of the same.
When the general physician detects the problem, he/she most likely refers the case to a Physical Therapist. At times, a customised or personalised treatment plan is required to ease the problem because everybody responds differently to the treatment. Thus the expert can provide the best suggestions and guidance regarding the ROM exercises to restore mobility. The patient can also perform these exercises under the supervision of caregivers at home.
ROM exercises are of two types
- Active ROM exercises that do not need the support of other limbs. For example, you can use your bicep muscle to bend your elbow.
- Inactive or Passive ROM exercise is one that involves someone else’s help or using the right hand to move the left one or vice-versa.
If we talk about upper extremity ROM exercises, then the PT can provide the best mix of exercises as per individual requirements. It includes exercises to improve arm movement, hand/wrist/finger mobility.
In this article, we discuss 5 ROM exercises that are easy to perform in the comfort of your home:
- Elbow Flexion and Extension
You need to hold the upper arm with one hand and the forearm with your other hand. Bend the arm in such a way that the hand touches the shoulder. Then get back to the original position that is to straighten your arm back. Repeat the same with the other hand and do this exercise 10 times.
- Shoulder Extension and Flexion
With one hand hold your wrist. Use the other hand to stabilise the elbow. Now, turn the palm inward to face the body and move it. Remember to keep the elbow straight at the same time. Stretch the arm over your head from the side of the body.
- Finger and Wrist Flexion and Extension
Bring your forearm above the wrist with one hand and use the other hand to grasp your fingers. Now, holding this position, bend the wrist 90 degrees and keep the fingers straight. Again, bend the wrist on the opposite side at 90 degrees and make a fist with your fingers.
Use a ball to squeeze your fingers to increase the grip strength and mobility. MySquegg smart ball is one of the excellent products that can provide you with the best aid to perform this grip strengthening exercise. It proves to be an excellent grip strength equipment and is one of the easiest exercises to perform at home.
- Thumb Flexion and Extension
Move your thumb to touch the base of your little finger. Keep the other fingers straight while performing this exercise. Repeat the same with the other hand. So do it 10 times and you will feel a stretch in your hand. Do not overexert.
- Horizontal Shoulder Abduction
Keep your hands behind your head. You can rest your hands above your head too. Bend in one direction holding the position and repeat the same in the other side too. You will feel a stretch in your elbow. Do it comfortably and the moment you feel a little uncomfortable, stop it.
Mobility is an important factor that helps you to be active. It is even more important if you are an athlete. But at times, injury causes reduction in joint movement. Hand therapy can be helpful. It is best to take expert advice and then incorporate the exercises for enjoying quality living.