Limited range of motion is a term meaning that a joint or body part cannot move through its normal range of motion.
Motion may be limited because of a problem within the joint, swelling of tissue around the joint, stiffness of the ligaments and muscles, or pain.
A sudden loss of range of motion may be due to:
Loss of motion may occur if you damage the bones within a joint. This may happen if you have:
Brain, nerve, or muscle disorders can damage the nerves, tendons, and muscles, and can cause loss of motion. Some of these disorders include:
Your health care provider may suggest exercises to increase muscle strength and flexibility.
Make an appointment with your provider if you have difficulty moving or extending a joint.
The provider will examine you and ask about your medical history and symptoms.
Physical therapy may be recommended.
Debski RE, Patel NK, Shearn JT. Basic concepts in biomechanics. In: Miller MD, Thompson SR, eds. DeLee Drez & Miller's Orthopaedic Sports Medicine. 5th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 2.
Magee DJ. Primary care assessment. In: Magee DJ, ed. Orthopedic Physical Assessment. 6th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier Saunders; 2014:chap 17.BACK TO TOP
Review Date: 7/25/2020
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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