Notice: This website was a student project from 2009 and is no longer actively maintained. I’ve left these resources archived, but be warned they may be out of date or no longer relevant.

If you’re looking for more current information from Jessica Mevius, OTR, MOT, you can go to my private practice website — Therapy Squared (


Functional Active Range of Motion Scan

Functional Active Range of Motion Scan


The Functional Active Range of Motion (AROM) Scan is a quick and easy way to screen your client for any deficits in AROM through observing them perform a series of demonstrated movements. Limitations in ROM can hinder occupational function. In driving, normal AROM is important in order to operate a vehicle safely. If your client cannot turn his/her head fully to check blind spots for cars when changing lanes, this common driving task can become most dangerous.31

How to Perform

There are some variations in how this can be accomplished - most OTs are familiar with this screening. Here’s the Functional AROM Scan that I have become familiar with for assessment:31

  • Patient should be seated.
  • Patient should perform the movements bilaterally.
  • Perform the movements first and have your patient copy you.

These are the directions that I give:

We will begin with your head.

  • Look down to your chest and then up to the ceiling.
  • Look to your left and then to your right.
  • Tilt one ear to one side and now to the other.
  • Reach your arms over head; try to reach the ceiling.
  • Stretch your arms out to your sides, now down, and then back up again.
  • Place your hands on the back of your head.
  • Place your hands behind the small of your back like you are tucking in your shirt.
  • Bend your elbows like this. Now turn your palms down toward the floor and then turn them back up.
  • Put your hands on your shoulders.
  • As you keep your elbows bent, now at the wrist bend your hands down and then lift your wrists up like you are waving at someone.
  • Make a fist & open with your fingers straight-out.
  • Touch each finger to your thumb and then reverse the order.

Who is originally responsible for this Tool?

The version of the assessment presented here is an adaptation of the one provided by Nancy A. Flinn, Catherine A. Trombly Latham, and Carolyn Robinson Podolski in Occupational Therapy for Physical Dysfunction.

Assessment Comparison Matrix

Overwhelmed by all of the choices and assessment varieties? Included is a handy reference chart that will help in the decision making process.

Assessment Comparison Matrix