Active ROM vs Passive ROM

Just because it looks and feels “tight” doesn’t mean that stretching it more will help! Do you know the difference between “active” range of motion (ROM) vs. “passive”? Do your hips always feel tight and you just can’t seem to stretch them enough?

- Active ROM is the motion you’re able to move through and control by yourself

- Passive ROM is the available motion you have (but you maybe not be able to access or control all of that motion by yourself)

Almost always, you’ll have more passive ROM than active. In other words, as PTs, we may be able to stretch your hip into full hip external rotation but you may not get as far by yourself.

This is the “before” picture of my 34 year old client who is 8 months postpartum AND had a Right #hipreplacement only 1 year prior to getting pregnant. She had a hip problem that she was born with (hip dysplasia) and had chronic hip pain x most of her life . Sometimes, you need to have surgery. You might look at her Right hip ROM and assume she needs to stretch BUT, she is actually very flexible in her hip and can do full “pigeon pose” in yoga. But she could barely lift her leg up to tie her shoes when we 1st met. She literally had to use her arms to lift her leg up to rest it on the opposite knee. Moral of the story is that stretching exercises will NOT help an active ROM problem.

PS- she can also jump rope without feeling like she’s going to pee her pants cuz good hips=good pelvic floor.