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Lab 3 Joint Angles

Overview
A joints flexibility or Range of Motion (ROM) is typically measured in degrees of maximum
movement (to the point of mild discomfort) from a standardized starting position (typically, but
not always, anatomical position). The most common way a joints ROM is measured is with a
device called a goniometer. Most standard goniometers have two hinged arms with a
protractor in the center for measuring angles between the arms. Inclinometers are typically
substituted when goniometers are difficult or impossible to use. Measurement error from both
goniometers and inclinometers often come from improper placement of the device, using
incorrect anatomical landmarks, and from interference with soft tissue and/or clothing.
The purpose of this lab is to acquaint students with the standard tools and techniques used for
measuring joint angles and body segment positions. These tools and techniques are used by a
wide variety of professionals including biomechanists, athletic trainers, physical and
occupational therapists, physicians, etc. The accurate assessment of joint angles and body
segment positions is essential for measuring training effects and various forms of impairment.

Equipment needed
1. Goniometers
2. Inclinometers

Your assignment
1. Students should form groups of about five. Each group member should be both a tester
and a subject for all measurements.
2. Where possible, measurements should be taken on each subjects right side.
3. Where possible, goniometers and inclinometers should be placed directly on the skin.
4. Fill in the measured values on the worksheet and respond to the summary questions.

Average values for comparisons


The values on the following chart (and images on the worksheet) are from Luttgens, K. &
Hamilton, N. (1997). Kinesiology: Scientific Basis of Human Motion, 9th Ed., Madison, WI:
Brown & Benchmark. The values below are for quick-reference purposes only. Other sources
have reported different normal/average values from those shown below.
Joint
Elbow
Knee
Hip

Shoulder

Movement
Flexion
Hyperextension
Flexion
Hyperextension
Flexion
Hyperextension
Flexion
Hyperextension
Internal Rotation
External Rotation

Average ROM
140
10
150
10
110
30
180
50
90
90

Worksheet for Lab 3 Joint Angles


Your name: ____________________________
Knee and elbow flexion and extension. Follow the image guides below and have your
subject fully flex and hyperextend his or her elbow and knee. Take measurements and record
the joint angles in degrees for each position using a goniometer.

Name

Elbow Elbow
Knee
Knee
Flexion Hyperext. Flexion Hyperext.

You
Group member
Group member
Group member
Group member
Highlight the highest and lowest values for each of the movements in the above chart. Were
there obvious reasons for the differences between group members (e.g., training, injury, body
shape, etc.)?

Hip flexion and hyperextension. Follow the image guides below and use a goniometer to
measure and record hip flexion and hip hyperextension in degrees for each member of your
group.

Name

Hip
Flexion

Hip
Hyperextension

You
Group member
Group member
Group member
Group member
Highlight the highest and lowest values for each of the movements in the above chart. Were
there obvious reasons for the differences between group members (e.g., training, injury, body
shape, etc.)?

What would have happened to your groups hip flexion measurements if knees were straight?
What is the term that describes this phenomenon?

Shoulder flexion, hyperextension, and rotation. Follow the image guides below and use an
inclinometer to measure and record shoulder flexion, hyperextension, and rotation in degrees
for each member of your group.

Name

Flexion

Hyperextension

Internal
Rotation

External
Rotation

You
Group member
Group member
Group member
Group member
Highlight the highest and lowest values for each of the movements in the above chart. Were
there obvious reasons for the differences between group members (e.g., training, injury, body
shape, etc.)?

Why was an inclinometer more useful than a goniometer for these measurements?

Compare your flexibility values in all movements of this lab with average values (see the chart
on the first page of this document). Based on these comparisons, how do you classify your
own flexibility?