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Active Range of Motion Exercises

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What are active range of motion exercises?

Active range of motion exercises help improve joint function. Range of motion is how far you can move your joints in different directions. These exercises help you move each joint through its full range of motion. Movement can help keep your joints flexible, reduce pain, and improve balance and strength.

What do I need to know about active range of motion exercises?

Neck exercises:

Starting position: You may sit or stand. Face forward. Your shoulders should be straight and relaxed.

Starting Position

Shoulder and elbow exercises:

Starting position: Stand or sit. Hold your arm straight down at your side. Face palms in toward your body. It is best to use a chair without arms if you are in a sitting position.

Arm and wrist exercises:

Starting position: Sit down. Bend your elbow and rest your forearm on a flat surface, such as a table or your lap. Make sure your wrist hangs loosely over the side.

Hand and finger exercises:

Starting position: Sit or stand. Place your hand out in front of you.

Hip and knee exercises:

Starting position: If you have had a hip injury or surgery, only do the hip exercises directed by your healthcare provider. Lie flat on the bed with your legs flat and straight.

Ankle and foot exercises:

Starting position: Sit in a chair with both feet flat on the floor.

When should I call my doctor or physical therapist?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.