Joint Mobilization

What is Joint Mobilization?

Joint mobilization is the careful use of skilled graded forces to move a joint in a desired direction. Unlike stretching of a muscle joint mobilization is specific to the capsule of the joint itself. Gliding of the joint is usually used to improve motion and normalize joint function. Joint mobilization also has the added benefit of controlling pain.

Which Joints Benefit From Being Mobilized?

Any joint that is lacking sufficient motion may be mobilized. Joint mobilization on the neck, upper, middle and lower back, and sacroiliac joints, as well as to all of the joints of the extremities such as the shoulder, wrist, hand, hip, knee, foot and ankle.

What Happens when a joint has limited motion?

When a joint’s mobility is limited, the structure and function of the region change. Cartilage nutrition starts to decrease within the joint, and other joints begin to move excessively to compensate for the stiff joint. These adjacent joints begin to deteriorate due to over use. Muscles surrounding a stiff joint lose their ability to contract and relax sufficiently and become tight. With time the whole region is involved in the dysfunction surrounding the stiff joint. Much of the time you feel a sensation of a deep stretch. Some times when the joint is mobilized you will feel a “pop” as the joint capsule is released. This may cause anxiety, however this is usually a sign of relief and success. In

What Benefits Are Derived From Joint Mobilization?
  • Improved joint mobility
  • Decreased muscle spasms & tension
  • Increased freedom of movement
  • Decreased pain
How Is Joint Mobilization Done?

The person is often placed in a position of comfort where they can relax and allow the joint to move freely. The Physical Therapist will use their hands to localize the joint in need of mobilization and apply needed force through his hands in the appropriate direction. As you progress the Physical Therapist may advance to the use of high speed mobilizations.