Joint Mobilization & Joint Manipulation at Leduc Physio

Joint mobilization is a manual therapy technique used by physiotherapists at Leduc Physio.

Physiotherapists apply specific pressures and movement to joints that are described as “locked”, “stuck”, or “out” in order to restore optimal motion, function, and to reduce pain.
Joint mobilizations are usually slow movements applied in particular patterns and directions to treat stiffness and tension at affected joints.

Physiotherapists may use a similar technique called a joint manipulation. Manipulations are a small and quick thrusts to a joint to provide pain relief and improved mobility. There can sometimes be an associated audible “pop” or “click” sound during a joint manipulation.

Joints which may require joint manipulations or mobilizations include the spine, shoulder, elbow, wrist, hip, knee, ankle, and foot.

What happens before and during a joint manipulation?

All physiotherapy assessments at Leduc Physio begin with a thorough evaluation of your injured area and a detailed history of your condition. Your physiotherapist will inform you of the risks and benefits associated with treatment techniques and answer any questions you may have.

Your physiotherapist then use his or her hands to determine if a joint in your body requires a mobilization or manipulation. If yes, they will place you in a comfortable and safe position before performing the mobilization/manipulation.

Depending on the injury, a physiotherapist may choose to mobilize a stiff joint first, guiding the affected joint using slow gentle movements through the range of motion to improve mobility and treat stiffness/tension.
If the joint continues to feel stiff, they may proceed to a joint manipulation.
A manipulation begins with gentle pressure which is applied to the joint in the direction of the joints movement. Then your therapist may apply a small, quick thrust (manipulation) to the affected area.


Joint mobilization and manipulations cannot be performed on patients with:

-fractured or weakened bone,
-neurological deficits,
-bleeding disorders,
-excessive joint mobility,
-and patients in excessive pain.


What happens after a joint mobilization or joint manipulation?

Your physiotherapist will reassess the joint movement after a joint mobilization or joint manipulation. They may tape the joint to support the correct posture and positioning for the affected area.
Your physiotherapist may recommend specific stretches or massage therapy for soft tissues surrounding the affected joints.
They may also suggest you follow an exercise program or begin working with a kinesiologist to improve strength, stability and maintain mobility for the joint(s) involved.


Can all Physiotherapists perform joint mobilizations and manipulations?

All physiotherapists learn joint mobilization techniques during their university education. Joint manipulation and more specialized techniques are learned at post-graduate courses and other specialized training. Physiotherapists are required to have specialized training to provide spinal manipulation. In Alberta, this approved list of providers is maintained by Physiotherapy Alberta.

At Leduc Physio, our physiotherapist team maintains up-to-date knowledge, learns new techniques, and mentors other physiotherapists in joint mobilization and manipulation techniques.

Book your Physiotherapy appointment HERE.

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