Glossary Of Terms

Isometric Muscle Contraction

This is the contraction of a muscle without movement at the joint. There is no change in length but tension increases.


Isotonic Muscle Contraction

This is the constant loading of a muscle with variable velocity.


Isokinetic Muscle Contraction

A muscle contraction in which a constant joint angular velocity is maintained by accommodating resistance.


Active Assisted Movements

An exercise in which part of the activity is undertaken by a patient and part by the therapist or other equipment eg: walking stick.


Active Movement

A movement performed by a person unaided by any external factor or influence.


Abnormal Movement Pattern

Abnormal movement patterns arise for varied reasons, typically:

  1. Poor posture ie faulty alignment.
  2. Altered muscle recruitment
  3. Unbalanced/unequal muscle length or strength in opposing muscle groups/synergists.



This is an exercise where by eccentric loading of a muscle in a stretch position is followed by powerful concentric shortening. In shoulder rehabilitation this is used months after surgery for active people in the form of throwing/catching/bouncing a ball of increasing weight.


Passive Movement

A movement which is performed by a force, which can be another person or a machine, i.e. continuous passive movement machine (CPM) but does not require voluntary activity of the patients own muscles.

The uses for passive movement are listed below:

  • Maintain integrity of joint and soft tissues
  • Promotion of synovial sweep over articular cartilage, thus nutrition.
  • Maintain existing range of movement.
  • Minimise risk of joint contracture (full range needed)
  • Maintain elasticity of soft tissues.
  • Assist circulation if performed quickly (stimulation of the muscle pump)
  • Pain inhibition (movement can act as an analgesic)
  • Relaxation
  • Promote Circulation, therefore healing
  • Preserve memory of normal movement patterns
  • Psychological.