What is joint mobilization?

Joint mobilization is a type of manual therapy performed here at our physical therapy clinic. It involves the passive movement of specific joints using the skilled application of force, direction, and technique. A physical therapist can use his or her hands to mobilize an affected joint or may elect to use certain tools, including straps, to help deliver the desired treatment effect.

The specific type, magnitude, speed, and frequency of joint mobilization performed depends on several factors, including the goal of treatment, the type of joint being targeted, and even your own unique anatomy. The primary effects of joint mobilizations include pain reduction, improved range of motion, and improved quality of joint movement itself (known as arthrokinematics).

Importantly, joints are supported by a wide variety of physiological structures including capsules, ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and muscle fibers, all of which can become injured and potentially benefit from physical therapy services, including a service known as joint mobilization.

What conditions can benefit from joint mobilization?

Sometimes, a joint can become irritated, swollen, or misaligned as a result of injury, stress, poor posture, repetitive movement, or even as a result of age-related wear and tear. When this happens, the joint may not move correctly and become stiff and painful.

Nearby structures including muscles, tendons, and ligaments may become tense or injured as a compensatory effect of trying to support or stabilize the injured joint. This can lead to muscle weakness or even impingement and damage to nearby nerves.

Joint mobilization isn’t appropriate for all patients, and our skilled and experienced physical therapists can determine if it’s right for you or a loved one. Specific conditions which our physical therapy team successfully manage with joint mobilizations include:

  • Arthritis (especially of the shoulder, spine, elbow, hip, and knee)
  • Rotator cuff tears and sprains
  • Adhesive capsulitis (frozen shoulder)
  • Medial or lateral epicondylitis (golfer’s or tennis elbow, respectively)
  • Ankle sprains
  • Sciatica and other types of nerve impingement syndromes
  • Facet joint locking and other types of spinal misalignments
  • Whiplash

Joint issues are often the hidden underlying factors driving other types of injuries and ailments including muscle strains, ligament damage, and bursitis, so this is why we strongly encourage you to consult with a physical therapist with any type of acute or chronic dysfunction. Your joints could be contributing to your pain without you even realizing it!

How Can Physical Therapy Services Help?

Physical therapists are specifically trained in musculoskeletal movement. They have extensive knowledge of gait analysis and biomechanics of the lower extremities.

They can provide you with orthotics that uniquely fit the contours of your feet, giving you the maximum amount of function, support, and comfort.

A trained physical therapist can give you a comprehensive orthotic evaluation. He or she will provide a custom fitting to determine what will work best for your feet.

The physical therapist will take into consideration your current medical conditions and activity level when providing the best custom orthotics. After your evaluation and fitting, it will likely take a few weeks for your custom orthotics to come back from the lab.

After you have received your orthotics it will likely be necessary to provide an ongoing assessment of how your orthotics are working. Fine-tuning may be needed to provide the best results possible.

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215.743.1060 tc@therapychoice.com