Passive Range of Motion Hindlimb

 

BEFORE YOU BEGIN

  • If you were given any pain medications for your pet, give them 30-60 minutes before any rehabilitation exercises are begun.
  • For best results perform range of motion for each joint 3-4 times a day.
  • Therapy sessions should be performed in a quiet and comforting area away from any possible distractions (loud noise, other pets, children – unless they are assisting). This will allow your pet to become calm and more receptive to their therapy.
  • If your pet is combative or reacts aggressively to this exercise, we recommend a muzzle be used during the therapy sessions for your safety. Your pet would never intentionally hurt you but accidents do happen when an animal is painful.

POSITIONING

  • Place your pet on their side with the injured leg up off the ground. Allow them to relax before starting the exercise.
    • A second person may be required to do this. Have the other person sit near your pet's head and provide scratches or rubs to keep them quiet and relaxed, or to assist in restraining them if needed.
    • A 2-3 minute gentle message of the injured leg before the exercise may be helpful to further relax your pet and loosen up the muscles. Place both hands on the injured back leg over the muscles and begin a very gentle message. You can message he back, thigh, and/or calf muscles.
  • Range of motion hand placement:PRMEH 1
    • Place one hand on the upper portion of the injured limb, above the level of the affected joint. Place your other hand on the lower portion of the injured limb, below the level of the affected joint.
      • For the hip this means one hand on the back and the other hand on the thigh or below the knee (Figure 1).
      • For the knee this means one hand would be placed on the front of the thigh with support under the leg, and the other hand would be placed below the knee on the front of the leg with support under the leg for a flexion motion.
    • Lift up the limb and make sure to support the entire limb to avoid any undue stress on the involved joint.

TECHNIQUE

  • The motions you will be performing are referred to as Flexion (bending of the joint) and Extension (straightening of the joint). You should do this exercise for the injured joint and all of the affected leg's joints.
  • FlexionPRMEH 2
    • With hands in the correct positions, slowly and gently flex (bend) the joint you are working with until your pet shows signs of discomfort (tensing the limb, trying to move away from you, moving the leg, crying, or lifting its head and looking back at you suddenly).
      • On hip flexion full range of motion is bring its paw to its ear (Figure 1).
    • At this point hold the joint flexed for 3-5 seconds then slowly let the leg relax or move it back to the beginning position (keeping your hands in the same position).
    • Perform this motion 10 times.
  • Extension
    • With hands in the correct positions (one hand on the front of the leg and one hand on the back of the leg), slowly and gently extend (straighten) the joint you are working with until your pet shows signs of discomfort (same as listed above).PRMEH 3
      • On hip extension full range of motion is the leg out back almost parallel with the rest of the body (Figure 3).
    • At this point hold the joint extended for 3-5 seconds then slowly let the leg relax or move it back to the beginning position (keeping your hands in the same position).
    • Perform this motion 10 times.
  • All joints
    • After performing flexion and extension of the injured joint, you should perform it for all of the leg joints.
    • For flexion of the entire limb, move one hand so your palm is flat against the toes and the other hand on the back. Slowly flex (bend) the entire limb by pressing your second hand towards the hip (Figure 2). Flex until your pet shows signs of discomfort.
      • Keep the injured joint supported the whole time.
      • Hold this for 3-5 seconds and perform the motion 10 times.
    • For extension of the entire limb, move one hand so your palm is flat against the foot pad and the other hand is on the front of the thigh. Push backwards on the thigh, pull the area above the toes backwards, and press the toes forward. Extend until your pet shows signs of discomfort.
      • Keep the injured joint supported the whole time.
      • Hold this for 3-5 seconds and perform the motion 10 times.
    • This will help keep the range of motion in all the joints of the injured limb as your pet heals, as well as reducing any joint stiffness that may occur.

COOL DOWN

  • End the exercise with another gentle message for 5 minutes to the muscles of the injured limb. This will help relax your pet and their muscles at the end of the session.
  • If you have been advised to apply an ice pack to the injured limb, apply it after you have completed the above instructions.