3014 AROM and PROM Essentials

Active and Passive ROM

Have the client perform ROM tests to see whether there are restrictions, discomfort or pain.


In AROM testing the client uses their own muscle force to bring the body part in question through the range of motion, while in PROM testing usually the examiner moves the client’s limbs thus bypassing the client’s potentially weak or non contracting (agonist) muscles.

As a general rule, if a client is able to perform complete AROM without pain and discomfort, there is no need to conduct the PROM tests.

The fact that AROM is fine does however not necessarily say that there is nothing wrong. It just shows that the client can move their body parts against the forces of gravity.

In some (more extreme cases) the client will only experience pain, discomfort or loss of function if they perform a movement several times or over a longer period of time, or if the movement is more difficult due to additional load.

In such cases it is advisable to mimic those situations conducting Manual Muscle Tests (MMTs) or Functional Muscle Tests (FMTs).

Ask the client to do a particular movement a number of times and/or increase the load on the muscles by adding weight. An athlete who complains about hip pain after a half hour run could be asked to come in for assessment and treatment right after training to provide a realistic .


PROM should always be carried out when a client has difficulty performing the AROM tests.

Cross Referencing PROM against AROM.

AROM without PROM is often not very informative as it might only tell you that the client cannot do a certain movement. This is information the client probably has told you earlier on already anyway.

Cross referencing the results of PROM against the AROM results will tell whether the problem is caused by an agonist muscle or is due to a passive or a non-contractile structure. Learn more

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