What is the normal range of movement for the knee?

Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Movement in the knee is like the hinge on a jewelry box: it opens in only one direction. Forcing it beyond a certain point causes damage. A healthy knee allows almost 150 degrees of movement; you can straighten your leg or bend it until your calf meets the back of your thigh, but you can't bend your knee in the other direction so your shin meets the front of your thigh. But unlike the jewelry box hinge, in which any wobble is undesirable, your knee can slightly rotate or move from side to side. There is variability in range of motion from person to person, just as there is in other functions, such as strength. Individuals who have lax joints tend to have more motion than those with tight or stiff joints.

Continue Learning about Healthy Bones, Joints & Muscles

This Bacteria Can Reduce Bone Loss
This Bacteria Can Reduce Bone Loss
A tiny type of bacteria called lactobacillus, which is only 0.8 micrometers long, can create serious bone strength in older women. Swedish researchers...
Read More
What is body education?
Debra Fulghum Bruce PhDDebra Fulghum Bruce PhD
Body education may help those who have repetitive stress injuries, because you “relearn” how to ...
More Answers
How can a disabled person prevent loss of muscle?
National Academy of Sports MedicineNational Academy of Sports Medicine
Movement and resistance training has been shown to slow or prevent the loss of muscle. Making a dec...
More Answers
3 Steps to Treat and Prevent Osteoporosis
3 Steps to Treat and Prevent Osteoporosis

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.