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Passive Range of Motion Exercises

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Feb 4, 2024.

What are passive range of motion exercises?

Passive range of motion exercises help keep a person's joints flexible. Range of motion is how far the person's joints can be moved in different directions. The exercises help you move all the person's joints through their full range of motion.

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

Neck exercises:

Support the person's head with your hands. Gently return the person's head to the middle, facing forward, after each exercise.

Shoulder and elbow exercises:

Support the person's elbow with one hand. Hold his or her wrist with your other hand.

Arm and wrist exercises:

Support the person's wrist with one hand. Hold his or her fingers with your other hand.

Hand and finger exercises:

Hold the person's hand with both of your hands. Hold his or her hand out toward yourself, with the fingers long.

Hip and knee exercises:

Start with the person's legs straight. Put one hand under his or her knee. Hold the ankle with your other hand.

Ankle and foot exercises:

Put a rolled towel under the person's thigh. For the ankle exercises, support the person's ankle with one hand, and his or her toes with the other hand. For the toe exercises, allow the person's foot to relax on the bed, and hold only the toes.

When should I call the person's 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.