Joint Testing is the assessment of flexibility, congruence, stability and quality of movement of joints. There are over 100 individual joints in the human body where two bones articulate against each other, and the coordinated movement of bones with limbs under the action of muscles is essential for normal human movement.
Joint testing is commonly used after an injury or event that has the potential to damage a joint. A typical joint assessment you may have seen is the testing of knee ligaments for footballers and rugby players. Other typical joint assessments are specific tests for shoulder injury in tennis players, as well as ankle testing for athletes. Joint testing is not exclusive to sportspeople - the accurate testing of joint flexibility and stability is essential in guiding treatment and ensuring proper rehabilitation.
Joint testing is carried out by the therapist, and draws on intimate knowledge of the anatomy, function, and limitations of joints in the human body. Critically, joint testing also assesses the tissues around the joint, and the ease with which muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones and joint surfaces work in a concerted group to produce movement. Dysfunction with any one of these elements can cause pain, discomfort, or instability, so it is important to raise this with your clinician if you are concerned.
Key things to be mindful of are clicking, grinding, snapping, locking or clunking of joints during movement. If you experience any of these sensations, speak to your therapist and consider a course of joint testing in your next session.