Your range of motion refers to how far you can move a joint in any direction it's supposed to go. In passive range of motion exercises, another person manipulates your joints. PROM exercises are an important part of rehabbing an injury and preserving joint mobility in sick or disabled people who are unable to do mobility exercises on their own. They can also be done at home under the guidance of your medical provider.
Hip and Knee Flexion
This move icreases range of motion in the hips and knees and stretches the gluteal and hamstring muscles.
HOW TO DO IT: Bend one knee and place your hand under it for support. Cradle the heel with the other hand. Gently press the knee toward the chest, keeping the foot and knee in line with the hip. Hold for up to 30 seconds and release. Repeat for up to 10 repetitions, then switch sides.
Do this to improve lateral range of motion in the hip joint.
HOW TO DO IT: Bend the leg to create a 90-degree ankle at the hip and knee. Cradle the leg under the knee with one hand and cup the heel with the other hand. Push the foot away from you, then pull it in towards you. Hold each direction for up to 30 seconds. Repeat 10 times, then switch sides.
The hip abduction improves abduction, or the movement of the leg away from the body. It also encourages groin flexibility.
HOW TO DO IT: With both legs straight, place one hand under the knee and cradle the heel with the other hand. Move the leg along a horizontal plane toward you and away from the other leg. Stop at 45 degrees, then return the leg to the starting position. Perform 10 repetitions, then switch sides.
Read more: Mobility Exercises for the Elderly
Ankle Rotation, Flexion and Extension
This series of moves increases range of motion in the ankle joint and flexibility in the muscles of the lower legs.
HOW TO DO IT: With legs extended, hold the ankle steady and grasp the foot. Slowly move the foot inward and then outward. Repeat 10 times, then switch legs.
Next, stabilize the foot with one hand around the mid-foot and the other around the toes. Gently point and flex the foot. Move the toes together or each one individually. Perform 10 repetitions, then switch sides.
A lumbar rotation promotes greater spine and hip mobility and stretches the muscles of the hips, outer thighs and back.
HOW TO DO IT: Stand to one side. Bend the knees and place the feet flat. Place one hand on the opposite shoulder to stabilize the upper body, and place the other hand outside the knee farthest from you. Pull the knees in toward you and push them away. Hold each movement up to 30 seconds. Do up to 10 repetitions, then switch sides.
Elbow and Shoulder Flexion and Extension
This increases range of motion in the elbow and shoulder joints and promotes flexibility in the arm and upper back muscles.
HOW TO DO IT: Lift the arm to 45 degrees. Cradle the elbow and hold the wrist for stability. Bend and straighten the arm at the elbow. Repeat 10 times on both sides.
Then, with the arm next to the body and the palm facing in, hold the wrist and stabilize the arm at the elbow joint. Lift and extend the arm over the head as far as it will go. Hold for up to 30 seconds. Repeat 10 times on both sides.
Shoulder Internal and External Rotation
Rotations promote lateral mobility of the arm in the shoulder joint.
HOW TO DO IT: Extend the arm out at shoulder level. Bend the elbow to 90 degrees, with the forearm perpendicular to the floor. Place one hand underneath the elbow, and grasp the forearm with the other hand. Rotate the arm backward so the palm points toward the ceiling, then rotate it in the other direction so the palm points toward the floor. Hold each direction for up to 30 seconds and repeat for up to 10 repetitions on both sides.
Shoulder Abduction and Adduction
Do this to boost flexibility in the chest and back muscles and outward and inward range of motion in the shoulder joints.
HOW TO DO IT: Open the arms out with the hands behind or just above the head. Gently press elbows down and hold. Repeat 10 times.
Next, cradle one arm at the elbow and bring it across the chest as far as it will go. Hold for up to 30 seconds and release. Repeat up to 10 times then switch sides.
This rotation improves range of motion in the neck and promotes flexibility in the neck and upper back muscles.
HOW TO DO IT: Gently cradle the head in both hands. Turn the head to the left and right, bringing the chin to the shoulder if possible. Hold each direction up to 30 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Tilt the head to one side, bringing the ear toward the shoulder, then tilt it in the other direction. Hold each direction up to 30 seconds and repeat 10 times.
Wrist and Finger Flexion and Extension
Add this move to increase mobility and flexibility in the wrist and fingers.
HOW TO DO IT: With one hand grasp the lower forearm to stabilize the wrist. Hold the hand behind the fingers and gently pull the hand toward you. Hold for up to 30 seconds then flex the wrist and the fingers, curling the fingers in toward the palm. Hold for up to 30 seconds. Repeat in both directions up to 10 times.