Knee Normal Range of Movement
We know that not everyone likes to get out an exercise (specifically, as in play a team game or go to the gym). However, we also know that everyone gets out and at least walks every now and then.
Something that’s important to overall physical health, is maintaining flexibility of your joints.
So it’s important to check the range of motion at your knee.
The range of motion of your knee could, potentially, limit many things you do on a normal day-to-day basis.
When the range of motion of your knee is hindered, you’re much more likely to not be able to engage in certain activities, such as bike riding, walking, and safely climbing stairs.
How do you know if your knee’s range of motion is impaired?
Check out how below.
Why Check For Normal Range of Motion in Your Knee?
Your knee’s range of motion may be limited for a couple of different reasons.
You may be recovering from some form of knee surgery or have injured the knee playing sports. However, sometimes the knee slowly loses range without you realising.
So why check for a normal range of motion in your knee?
It’s important to know what you can and can not do so you don’t accidentally injure yourself doing activities out of the range of motion of your knee. It’s also important to know if your knee’s range of motion is hindered in any way, so you can try and improve it.
So, what do you do to check it?
How To Check Your Knee’s Range of Motion
Your knee’s range of motion is composed of two things: extension and flexion.
A full extension means you can completely straighten out your leg.
Without the full extension, you may be walking on a bent knee. This causes the quad muscles (muscles at the front of your thigh) to be activated more than normal. Naturally, if they’re working harder than normal, it will cause them to tire out, causing pain and potentially leading to injury.
Flexion is a measure of how much you can bend the knee.
Limited flexion may make everyday tasks become more difficult, such as getting up from a chair or getting in and out of a car.
The range of motion at joints can be measured by a goniometer, although it’s not 100% accurate.
See the photo below of a goniometer. It consists of two measured sides, with a rotating piece in the centre, which rests on your knee.
The two measured sides are used to determine the range of motion of your knee, in degrees.
For example, since 65 degrees of flexion is required to walk, a measure of 65 degrees or higher of flexion means you’re able to walk without risk of injury.
It’s generally easier for someone else to measure the angle of your knee. However, there are alternative ways to check without the need for equipment. For example, laying down, bend your knees and see how close to your body you can get your heels or check that your toes are in line. The image below shows the right knee is restricted into flexion.
Ideal Range of movement
Extension – at least 0 degrees. However, the majority of people ‘hyperextend’, where the heel lifts of the ground when the knee is straight. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about.
Watch the clip below which explains about checking hyperextension.
Flexion – aim for between 130-150 degrees.
What to do if your range is reduced
If you’ve found you’ve got a reduced range of movement, then it’s important to take steps to improve it.
Performing certain exercises like squats or lunges on a step may improve flexion and extension.
Be patient, keep working on bending and straightening the knee before re-checking the range of motion again after 3-4 weeks.
If in any doubt, get yourselves checked out so you can get individual advice on your particular issue. Having someone else measure and check your range of movement can also help to keep you accountable.
Trying out different exercises is key to improving and maintaining the body’s flexibility, which in turn can help with recruiting muscles efficiently.
If you’ve got any questions on the above, then please let us know (click for contact details).
Remember – Listen to Your Body!
Please remember to listen to your body. Get any aches and pains checked out sooner rather than later.
As with all information given for exercises and exercise programs, when using our exercise videos or information, please use your common sense and don’t do anything that will hurt you. By performing any fitness exercises, you are performing them at your own risk. PhysioFit Health will not be responsible or liable for any injury or harm you sustain as a result of information shared on our website or YouTube channel. This includes emails, videos, and text. Thanks for your understanding.