ROM is the acronym for “range of motion.” Each of our joints has a normal range of motion. As we get older or have suffered damage to a joint, or are recovering from an operation on a joint, we have limited range of motion at first. Through physical therapy and exercise we are able to increase this range of motion. Pain, swelling, and stiffness are the causes of this limited range of motion.
Range of motion activities are often performed during ADL (activities of daily living) such as bathing or dressing. The ROM is measured in degrees. After replacement of a person’s knee joint, the physical therapist is looking for a movement of 120 degrees. A physical therapist uses a device called a goniometer to measure this. There are other things that are considered also important such as the patient’s gait, flexibility, strength, and balance.