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How to Use a Goniometer to Measure Elbow Extension

Updated May 31, 2017

Health care providers use goniometers to measure angles of joints. These tools are usually made of plastic and have a fulcrum attached to two arms. The range of motion of a joint is commonly checked after sports injuries or surgeries to monitor the progression of motion. Elbow goniometry is accomplished using a single elbow flexion movement.

Position the patient on an examination table lying on their back in the anatomical position. The anatomical position is both arms to the side with palms facing upward.

Align the fulcrum with the epicondyle of the humerus.

Position the stationary arm along the humeral midline and the moving arm with the radial styloid process. Stabilise the stationary arm from shifting during the movement.

Ask the patient to slowly touch their shoulder, noting the beginning and ending reading on the goniometer. This is the range of motion (ROM).

Tip

Check physical landmarks before and after to ensure accurate results.

Warning

Do not force natural movement of a joint unless you are licensed to do so.

Things You'll Need

  • Examination table
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About the Author

Based out of Reno, Nev., Andrew Youngker has been writing since 2007. He writes articles for various websites, covering cooking and education. Youngker is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in biology from the University of Nevada, Reno.