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Physical Therapy Skills

Range-of-motion (ROM)

exercises are done to maitain the health of the musculoskeletal system.


a tightening and shortening of a muscle, resulting in a permanent flexing of a joint.

Active ROM exercises

performed by patients who are able to move each joint without assistance.

Active Assistive ROM exercises

the patient actively moves the joints but recieves assistance to complete the entire ROM.

Passive ROM exercises

another person moves each joint for a patient who is not able to exercise.

Resistive ROM exercises

adminstered by a therapist, and the exercises are performed against resistance provided by the therapist.


moving a part away from the midline of the body.


moving a part toward the midline of the body.


bending of a body part.


straightening a body part.


excessive straightening of a body part.


moving a body part around its own axis, for example, turning the head from side to side.


moving in a circle at a joint, or moving one end of a body part in a circle while the other end remains stationary, such as swinging arm in a circle; involves all the movements of flexion, extension, abduction, adduction, and rotation.


turning a body part downward (turning palm down)


turning a body part upward (turning palm up)


turning a body part inward.


turning a body part outward.


bending backward (bending the foot toward the knee)

Plantar FLexion

bending forward (straightening the foot away from the knee)

Radial deviation

moving toward the thumb side of the hand.

Ulnar deviation

moving toward toward the little finger side of the hand.


are artificial supports that assist a patient who needs help walking.

Axillary Crutches

made of wood or aluminum and used for patients who need crutches for a short period of time.

Forearm or Lofstrand crutches

attach to forearms; used for patients with weakness or paralysis in both legs; recommended for patients who need crutches permanently or for a long period of time.

Platform crutches

used for patients who cannot grip handles of other crutches or bear weight on wrist and hands.

Four-point gait

used when both legs can bear some weight.

Two-point gait

often taught after the four-point gait is mastered.

Three-point gait

used when only one leg can bear weight.

Swing-to gait

a more rapid gait, taught after other gaits are mastered.

Swing-through gait

most rapid, it requires the most strength and skill.


is an assistive device that provides balance and support.


is a four-legged device that provides support.

Transfer (gait) Belt

is a band of fabric or leather that is positioned around the patients waist.


the blood vessels in the area become larger (dilated).


the blood vessels become smaller (constricted).

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