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Joint Mobilisations

What are Joint Mobilisations

Leicester Physiotherapy Joint MobilisationsJoint mobilisation is a technique performed to improve joint mobility and reduce pain. It is also used to align the articulating surfaces of a joint and to reduce joint play.
Mobility or ‘range of movement’ of a joint is frequently impaired following injury or surgery. It is vital that as much mobility is restored as quickly as possible. This has to be done carefully and gradually with correct positioning and function.
For full and pain-free movement your joints need to move freely in all directions that they were designed. If they become locked or restricted it results in pain and stiffness. Joint mobilisations is one technique that can improve this.

Joint stiffness can be associated with any joint, muscle, tendon and ligament injury. Joints can become stuck open or closed. Nearly every restriction in movement can be regained by a specific joint technique performed by an experienced Musculoskeletal Therapist.

How do joint mobilisations work?

Joint mobilisation is a gentle manual therapy, applied at varying intensities or “grades”, depending on the severity of the condition and required result.
These grades of joint mobilisations produce different actions on mechanoreceptors in the joint.
From a light oscillatory motion to more prolonged movements at a joint’s “end of range”, different receptors can be activated. Joint mobilisations are aimed at improving the range and fluidity of movement, whilst reducing tension of the surrounding soft tissues and increasing blood flow and lymphatic drainage around the joint.
Joints in the Human Body
Joints are the place where two bones meet. Joints hold your bones together and allow your rigid skeleton to move. There are 3 main types of joints.

Fixed joints
Some of your joints, like those in your skull, are fixed and don’t allow any movement. The bones in your skull are held together with fibrous connective tissue.

Semi-mobile joints
These joints occur where the connection between the articulating bones is made up of cartilage for example between vertebrae in the spine. Semi-mobile joints can only move a small amount.

Synovial joints
Most joints are ‘synovial joints’. They are movable joints containing a lubricating liquid called synovial fluid. Synovial joints are predominant in the limbs where mobility is important. Ligaments help provide their stability and muscles contract to produce movement. The most common synovial joints are listed below:
• Ball and socket joints, like the hip and shoulder joints, are the most mobile type of joint in the human body. They allow the arms and legs to swing in many different directions.
• Ellipsoidal joints, such as the joint at the base of the index fingers, allow bending and extending, rocking from side to side, but rotation is limited.
• Gliding joints occur between the surfaces of two flat bones that are held together by ligaments. Some of the bones in the wrists and ankles move by gliding against each other.
• Hinge joints, for example in the knee and elbow, enable movement similar to the opening and closing of a hinged door.
• The pivot joint in the neck allows the head to turn from side to side.
• The only saddle joints in the body are in the thumbs. The bones in a saddle joint can rock back and forth and from side to side, but they have limited rotation.

We use joint mobilisations as part of our treatment sessions at Leicester Physiotherapy and Sports Injury Clinic.