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Reduced Range of Movement

Reduced range of movement is where there is a limitation of movement at a joint. The movement may become stiff or painful. Pain or stiffness may restrict the normal fluency of the joint’s range.

Causes of Reduced Range of Movement

There are different types of reduced range of movements. The three main types of reduced range of movement include:


  • Muscle Injury
  • Ligament injury
  • Tendon injury
  • Pain


  • Proprioception
  • Problem / injury with the nerves
  • Brain damage
  • Complex regional pain syndrome – leads to decreased use of limb (immobilisation)
  • Contractures due to abnormalities in nerve pathways


  • Swelling Pain
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Gonococcal joint infection (gonorrhoea)
  • Non Gonococcal joint infection (bacterial)

Reduced range of movement can be active or passive. Active and passive range of movement is:

  • Active range of movement is when the individual initiates and completes the movement through muscular action and control.

    This type of movement will only be reduced if there is an abnormality with the mechanisms which produce the movement.

    Active range of movement can be reduced if there is pain, muscular weakness and altered nerve pathways or a foreign object blocking the movement

  • Passive range of movement is when the joint is taken through its range with no involvement of the individual.

    This is usually done by a physiotherapist (preferably a senior, experienced one) during and assessment or as a treatment.

    This would eliminate the cause being due to structures which produce the movement such as muscle action.

    Passive range of movement may be decreased due structures and which to swelling, bony abnormalities and foreign objects within the joint.

How can Physiotherapy help with reduced range of movement?

Physiotherapists diagnose what is causing the decreased range of movement.

Our senior experienced physiotherapists have knowledge of diagnosing and treating the cause for reduced range of movements at a joint with a variety of causes.

They can help to:

  • Increase range of movement as appropriate
  • Strengthen the surrounding muscles
  • Decrease pain (pain relief physiotherapy)
  • Offer self-management strategies
  • Improve quality of life
  • Improve mobility (if a lower limb joint)

What type of treatments can be expected for reduced range of movement?

Physiotherapists at Physio.co.uk have a variety of skills and knowledge of treatments which can treat the cause and relieve the symptoms. Some of the most common treatment modalities are:


To increase joint rage of movement to its optimal range a qualified physiotherapist’s knowledge and experience is advisable.

To improve the health of a joint, increase movement and decrease pain please contact us to arrange an appointment.