Differences in Range of Motion Between Dominant and Nondominant Sides of Upper and Lower Extremities

Luciana Gazzi Macedo and David J. Magee

The objective of this study was to compare ranges of motion (ROM) between dominant and nondominant sides for the joints of the upper and lower extremities.  Ninety healthy white women from 18 to 59 years of age were measured in this study. Active and passive ROM were measured for the ankle, knee, hip, shoulder, elbow, and wrist using a standard goniometer. The results of this study showed a statistically significant difference between dominant and nondominant sides for 34 of the 60 ROM measured. The maximum mean difference between sides for all ROM measured was 7.5°.

The results of this show that some ROM are different between body sides and that when these differences exist they are minimal and may not be clinically insignificant. These results support the practice of using the opposite side of the body as an indicator of preinjury or normal extremity ROM.

Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 2008, 31(8), 577-582

Link to Abstract

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