Generally Accepted Values for Normal Range of Motion (ROM) in Joints

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Range of motion (ROM) is a measurement of the distance and direction a joint can move to its full potential. A joint is a location in the body where bones connect. Most of them are constructed to allow movement in predetermined directions.

The amount of movement through a normal range of motion is commonly measured in degrees using an instrument called a goniometer. Each joint has different ranges of motion for each type of movement it can perform. There are a few joints that do not support movement, such as in the skull.

Joint Movements

Common joint movements include:

  • Extension: Extension is a motion that increases the angle between the bones of the limb at a joint. It occurs when muscles contract and bones move the joint into a straightened position, like straightening the elbow.
  • Flexion: The opposite of extension, flexion bends the joint so that the joint angle decreases, like bending the elbow.
  • Abduction: Abduction is moving away from the central axis of the body.
  • Adduction: Adduction is moving towards the central axis of the body.
Types of Joint Movements

Laura Porter / Verywell

Normal Ranges of Motion By Joint

Although there is variability among various individuals, the following are generally accepted values for a normal ROM in each individual joint as measured in degrees. Physical therapists and exercise physiologists measure an individual's range of motion and compare it to these normal values.


  • Flexion 0 to 125 degrees
  • Extension 115 to 0 degrees
  • Hyperextension (straightening beyond normal range) 0 to 15 degrees
  • Abduction 0 to 45 degrees
  • Adduction 45 to 0 degrees
  • Lateral rotation (rotation away from the center of the body) 0 to 45 degrees
  • Medial rotation (rotation towards the center of the body) 0 to 45 degrees


  • Flexion 0 to 130 degrees
  • Extension 120 to 0 degrees


  • Plantar flexion (movement downward) 0 to 50 degrees
  • Dorsiflexion (movement upward) 0 to 20 degrees


  • Inversion (rolled inward) 0 to 35 degrees
  • Eversion (rolled outward) 0 to 25 degrees

Metatarsophalangeal Joint of the Foot

  • Flexion 0 to 30 degrees
  • Extension 0 to 80 degrees

Interphalangeal Joint of the Toe

  • Flexion 0 to 50 degrees
  • Extension 50 to 0 degrees


  • Flexion 0 to 180 degrees
  • Extension 0 to 50 degrees
  • Abduction 0 to 90 degrees
  • Adduction 90 to 0 degrees
  • Lateral rotation 0 to 90 degrees
  • Medial rotation 0 to 90 degrees


  • Flexion 0 to 160 degrees
  • Extension 145 to 0 degrees
  • Pronation (rotation inward) 0 to 90 degrees
  • Supination (rotation outward) 0 to 90 degrees


  • Flexion 0 to 90 degrees
  • Extension 0 to 70 degrees
  • Abduction 0 to 25 degrees
  • Adduction 0 to 65 degrees

Metacarpophalangeal (MCP)

  • Abduction 0 to 25 degrees
  • Adduction 20 to 0 degrees
  • Flexion 0 to 90 degrees
  • Extension 0 to 30 degrees

Interphalangeal Proximal (PIP) Joint of the Finger

  • Flexion 0 to 120 degrees
  • Extension 120 to 0 degrees

Interphalangeal Distal (DIP) Joint of the Finger

  • Flexion 0 to 80 degrees
  • Extension 80 to 0 degrees

Metacarpophalangeal Joint of the Thumb

  • Abduction 0 to 50 degrees
  • Adduction 40 to 0 degrees
  • Flexion 0 to 70 degrees
  • Extension 60 to 0 degrees

Interphalangeal Joint of the Thumb

  • Flexion 0 to 90 degrees
  • Extension 90 to 0 degrees

Factors Influencing ROM

There are numerous influences—inherent and situational—that can affect your ROM. Some of the things that you can’t control and that you are born with include:

  • The type of joint, as some joints aren't meant to move a lot
  • The internal resistance within a joint
  • Bony structures which limit movement
  • The elasticity of muscle tissue, for instance, muscle tissue that is scarred due to a previous injury is not very elastic
  • The muscle's ability to relax and contract to achieve the greatest range of movement

Another factor that you can't control is age. One study examined the effects of age and sex on joint ROM and found that older participants showed smaller ROMs than their younger counterparts. In one case, the difference in ROM was 44.9% for the eversion and inversion of the foot. What’s more, older subjects needed more time to reach a full range of motion.

As for sex, it was found to have a significant effect on ROM. Men had smaller ROMs than women in some areas, with the greatest difference, 29.7%, occurring in the hand.

These differences in age and sex were found to affect specific joints and motions, which could be explained by the differences in anatomy and the frequency that the joints are used in activities between the groups.

Limited Range of Motion

Limited range of motion is a term used when a joint has a reduction in its ability to move. This can be due to injuries to the soft tissues surrounding a joint. It may also be caused by diseases such as osteoarthritisrheumatoid arthritis, or other types of arthritis.

Regaining range of motion in a joint is one of the first phases of injury rehabilitation. Physical therapists often prescribe specific ROM exercises for each joint.

Each joint has a normal ROM, while each person has a different amount of ability to achieve it. Joints maintain a balanced range of motion by regular use and stretching of the surrounding soft tissues (muscles, tendons, and ligaments). Just 10 minutes of stretching three times a week can help improve range of motion.

A study found that small gains in ROM might be made by applying heat while stretching. In healthy individuals, those who were complaining of tight muscles saw a slight improvement in range of motion with heat and stretching compared to those who only stretched.

Types of Exercises for Increased ROM

Physical therapists often prescribe specific ROM exercises for each joint. These exercises aim to gently increase the range of motion with attention to the pain, stiffness, and swelling that may be present. There are three types of range-of-motion exercises:

  • Active range-of-motion: You perform these exercises without assistance.
  • Active assistive range-of-motion: The therapist helps the patient do these exercises. This is may be done if the muscles are weak or when the movement causes discomfort.
  • Passive range-of-motion: The therapist or equipment moves the joint through the range of motion without any effort from the patient.

A Word From Verywell

You need to be able to move your joints through their normal ranges to perform many tasks of daily living and job duties as well as to enjoy physical activity and sports. You can improve your flexibility through range-of-motion exercises whether you are healthy or need rehabilitation from an injury.

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Article Sources
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  2. Magee DJ. Orthopedic Physical Assessment - E-Book. Elsevier Health Sciences; 2014.

  3. Marek SM, Cramer JT, Fincher AL, et al. Acute Effects of Static and Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation Stretching on Muscle Strength and Power Output. J Athl Train. 2005;40(2):94-103.

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