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Joint motion: clinical measurement and evaluation
  1. J A Ashton-Miller

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    Roger Soames. 182 illustrations: Published by Churchill Livingstone, 2003, £16.99, pp 216. ISBN 443058083

    Over the past five years more than a dozen books have appeared on how to measure joint range of motion. One of the least expensive but most enjoyable of these is Roger Soames’ handy guide to measuring joint motion aimed at the student, clinician, therapist, trainer, or anyone interested in measuring range of joint motion. Introductory chapters cover joint structure and function, joint flexibility and motion, and the principles of measurement. The main chapters describe how to measure the range of motion of the temporomandibular articulation and the joints of the pectoral girdle, vertebral column, and upper and lower extremities, including the hand and foot.

    I enjoyed the many helpful line drawings and photographs that illustrate this small book and found them helpful. The drawings are usually self explanatory and make their points well. I admit, however, that even after 30 years of biomechanics research, I did occasionally have to puzzle over an occasional view until I spotted the salient anatomical clues. There are a few graphical inconsistencies. Cartilage surfaces are often, but not always, shown diagrammatically in colour. Likewise, joint motion is usually depicted by self explanatory arrows, but sometimes by an unexplained dash-dot line. The composition and quality of the many photographs are excellent. Indeed, some seem to burn themselves into one’s visual memory, which should be helpful for students trying to remember the main points. Joint range of motion is, of course, measured clinically using a goniometer. Instead of cluttering his photographs with this unsightly device, the author wisely chose to describe how the goniometer is used to make the measurement in the accompanying text. As a practical point, I wondered how many different sizes of goniometer he feels he needs to measure motion accurately in joints varying in size from the distal interphalangeal joint to the hip joint.

    I found the descriptions of the anatomical structures resisting movement of a joint in its end range useful, as were the tables showing the ranges of joint motion needed for different activities of daily living. A weakness, easily remedied, was the incomplete literature review describing how age affects joint range of motion in the elderly. A minor quibble involves the omission of age units throughout the text. An example is the section that first reports the knee range of motion in newborn children and then informs us that “by age 2 full extension is possible”—I had to guess whether that meant two weeks, months, or years. In summary, the strengths far outweigh any weaknesses, and this book should prove especially popular with students and those who measure joint range of motion on a daily basis.

    Evidence basis11/20


    Roger Soames. 182 illustrations: Published by Churchill Livingstone, 2003, £16.99, pp 216. ISBN 443058083

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