Why You Should Exercise an Injured Joint Through Complete Range of Motion
If you’ve ever been injured, most likely it’s an injury to a joint or muscles surrounding a joint. Besides pain that you feel, your body will contract that joint and the muscles around it.
Why? To protect it. It’s a good thing, for a short time. But far too often the muscles stay stiff and contracted and the joint becomes less mobile and this becomes a chronic problem over time.
The best therapy is to first to take the joint through its complete range of motion. Then, after a few days to weeks, the next thing to do is to begin to strengthen the muscles around the joint. This will improve muscle strength, improve mobility in the joint, and put you on the path of healing.
However, what is not discussed much at all is that for complete healing, not only does the joint need to be taken through its complete range of motion, the muscles need to be strengthened through their complete ranges of motion.
In other words, if you had a compaction injury to a shoulder joint in a car accident (you were hit by another vehicle and your shoulder slammed into the door frame), your shoulder will go through inflammation, contraction, and joint immobility.
After the inflammation is reduced then you go about improving range of motion, increasing strength to the surrounding muscles as I indicated above.
But in addition, you must exercise the joint and muscles through their ENTIRE range of motion. This means; if your shoulder joint goes from zero degrees – in an anatomical posture that is, your hand down by your side – to 180 degrees above your head, you need to exercise all 180 degrees. All the way up, and all the way down – in flexion and extension. Most likely you will have to start out with much smaller degrees of motion and then over time, build up to larger.
You can do exercise the muscles with rubber tubing (I would not recommend free weights because you don’t want more weight than you can handle). Or, you can exercise the muscles in these degrees of motion with a qualified trainer or a rehabilitative professional.
When you exercise the muscles through its entire range of motion you are gaining more effect on the muscles, building more muscle tissue and as important, exercising the joint through its complete range of motion as well. You’ll be stronger, your joints will be more efficient, and in turn, you should not have the chronic problems often associated with joint injuries.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Myoride Fitness for their insight into healing injuries.