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Lesson 15. Motor Function

2-15. MOTOR FUNCTION

Evaluate motor function by testing muscle strength, mobility, and coordination.

a. Position the patient comfortably so that you can observe both upper and lower extremities.

b. Beginning with upper extremities, ask patient to put each joint (wrist, elbows, shoulders) through active range of motion.

(1) Observe smoothness of movement.
(2) Note inability to move any body part.
(3) Observe patient's facial expression for signs of any pain/discomfort.

c. Extend your index and middle fingers of each hand and ask patient to grip firmly.

(1) Dominant hand will usually be slightly stronger.
(2) Note strength of both hands and compare strength of one to the other.

d Instruct patient to put each lower extremity joint (ankles, knees, hips) through active range of motion.

(1) Observe smoothness of movement.
(2) Note inability to move any body part.
(3) Observe patient's facial expression for signs of any pain/ discomfort.

e. Ask the patient to alternately flex and extend his feet while you provide resistance with your hands.

(1) Note the strength that the patient exerts against your resistance and compare right to left.
(2) If muscle group is weak, lessen your resistance or provide no resistance to permit more accurate observation.

f. Observe coordination.

(1) Ask the patient to run his left heel along his right shin (while standing) and vice versa.
(2) Ask the patient to close his eyes, extend his arms, and touch his index finger to his nose.
(3) Ask the patient to walk in a straight line, forward and backward. Observe posture and balance.

David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015