Body processes

Agility – function, task and diseases


In medicine, the term mobility is mostly associated with the joints of the body. The extent of mobility is given for joints by the neutral zero method . Joint stiffness can be documented in this way.

What is Agility?

Numerous movement processes take place in the human body. Many of these are involuntary and therefore cannot be influenced, such as the so-called peristalsis of the esophagus , intestines , stomach and ureters or the movement of the respiratory muscles and the heart muscle .

Medicine usually distinguishes involuntary movement processes from active movement in the sense of motor function . In the case of involuntary movement processes, we sometimes talk about motility . Mobility must be differentiated from this. In the narrower definition, this mobility corresponds to passive mobility and thus refers to the physical property of being able to be made to move passively.

In medical use, mobility is often associated with the joints of the body being able to move passively. The neutral-zero method is used to record this mobility.

In its broader meaning, however, the medical concept of mobility does not only stand for the passive mobility of the joints, but encompasses all forms of mobility. In this context, the term can refer to the ability for independent locomotion, for example in neurology . The broader meaning of the term also includes the mobility of tissue as assessed by palpation .

Function & task

In the narrower definition, the medical term ‘flexibility’ or ‘mobility’ refers to the numerous joints in the body that can be moved passively. In clinical practice, the mobility of individual joints is determined using the neutral zero method and given as an orthopedic index. The mobility of the joint corresponds to a three-digit code in the method. The passive movement takes place from the neutral zero position of the joint and is specified in angular degrees from there. The first digit of the three-digit code describes a movement that leads away from the center of the body. Such types of movement are, for example, extension , abduction , pronation , and retractionulnar abduction , elevation and retroversion or horizontal extension.The second digit only deviates from zero if the respective joint cannot be brought into the normal zero position passively. If the joint can no longer assume this initial position, the zero is given either before the minimum flexion or after the minimum extension of the joint.

The third digit represents movements that lead to the body. These include flexion , adduction and supination . In some cases, the range of motion is also given in the opposite direction. Some joints have more than one axis of motion and then require multiple three-digit codes to indicate the total range of motion. A healthy hip jointfor example, is capable of extension and flexion with values ​​of 10-0-120. Abduction and adduction scores are 45-0-30 and external rotation and internal rotation are 50-0-40. If mobility is restricted in the sense of abduction or adduction, a value of 180-90-0 could exist for a joint, for example. In this case, the ability to move on the corresponding axis is only 90 degrees.

Diseases & Ailments

The neutral zero method is able to document the restricted mobility of joints. Restrictions in mobility are present in the context of various diseases, such as malpositions or after accidents. Mobility is also greatly reduced in the case of joint stiffness or joint rigidity.In general, all joints in the body can be affected by joint stiffness. In most cases, however, the joint stiffness affects the fingers , the knee joints or the elbows . Joint stiffness is acute, for example, after accidental injuries or arises chronically with various diseases. The degree of severity depends on the cause and can vary from mild limitation of movement to complete inability to move. Two types of joint stiffness are distinguished. One of them is the contracture, where the joint itself is not damaged and basically the connected ligaments , muscles or tendons are the cause.

The ankylosis also corresponds to a joint rise. Damaged joints and bones are the cause of this type of mobility impairment. In individual cases, joint stiffness can occur as a result of being bedridden. The lack of movement of joints in a plaster cast , for example, often leads to restricted mobility, since the tendons, ligaments or muscles shorten as a result of the lack of movement.

In the context of diseases, however, joint stiffness occurs much more frequently. One of the most important diseases in this context is gout . Equally common is osteoarthritis , which degenerates the joints themselves and, like gout, causes severe pain .

Osteoarthritis must be distinguished from age-physiological signs of wear and tear. Only when the wear and tear exceeds the age-physiological level is manifest arthrosis, which is primarily promoted by malpositions and incorrect loads. The mobility of the joints can correspond to complete immobility due to arthrosis. The age-physiological joint stiffness, on the other hand, does not usually lead to complete immobility.

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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.