Joint Mobilizations

It was an honor and privilege to host George Mason University Athletic Training Education Program Students for Joint Mobilizations Educational Session at our clinic!

Types of Joint Mobilizations in Physical Therapy

We can generally subdivide them into the following categories:

Oscillatory

This involves applying gentle pressure to the joint that is slow in speed (low-velocity) and varies in the size of movement (the amplitude). Therapists apply this type of mobilization at various points throughout a joint’s available range of motion.

Sustained

In this type, the therapist applies a pulling or traction-type movement and holds it steady for a period of time. We can use this type of mobilization to reduce joint compression and stretch the surrounding soft tissue.

Manipulation

In this type, the therapist uses a high-speed thrusting movement with a low amplitude in a direction of tightness or impaired joint mobility.

What are the Joint Mobilization Grades?

We can differentiate among the many techniques using these grades:

  1. Grade 1: Slow, small-amplitude back-and-forth movements that are applied at the beginning of a joint’s arc of motion (normal rotational pattern)
  2. Grade 2: Slow, large-amplitude back-and-forth movements that are applied within the middle section of a joint’s arc of motion.
  3. Grade 3:  Slow, large-amplitude back-and-forth movements that are applied from the middle to the end of a joint’s arc of motion.
  4. Grade 4: Slow, small-amplitude back-and-forth movements that are applied to the end of a joint’s arc of motion
  5. Grade 5: A single, small-amplitude thrusting motion (also known as a manipulation) applied at a high velocity at the end of a joint’s available motion

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