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Do's & Don'ts in Manual Muscle Testing (MMT)

Physical Therapists and Students "Do's and Don'ts" Guide to Manual Muscle Testing

Performing manual muscle testing to assess for the patient's muscle strength is a skill that every physical therapy student should enhance. Like any other physical therapy procedure, manual muscle testing have "Do's and Don'ts" that students and therapists should observe while testing.

The Do's in Manual Muscle Testing
1. Always instruct or inform your patient about the procedure and what you want to get from the test.

2. Make sure that the subject's clothings are loose and should not be restricting movement.

3. Advise the patient not to hold his or her breath when you are applying force (resistance) against the movement.

4. Test the uninvolved limb/s first and the affected limb/s last.

5. To be organized, test all muscles that should be examined in one position before changing to another. This way, you can avoid changing positions all the time.

6. Provide adequate stabilization to unrelated joint/s so as to avoid unnecessary movements. For example, prevent extra movements in the shoulder when resisting elbow bending (flexion).

7. Always compare strength or muscle grade with the other, uninvolved limb (extremity).

8. All materials needed during the physical examination should be close. This is important in cases where patient becomes anxious for any other reason or he or she is too weak to be safely left unattended.
Dont's in Manual Muscle Testing: What physical therapists should not do when testing muscle strength

Basically, the "Don'ts" are the opposite of the "Do's" in physical therapy manual muscle test. However, there are other things that you should consider including:
  • Not jerking when applying resistance to movement
  • Avoiding repeat testing on painful joints, and
  • Not leaving patients unattended.

Related Article:
Manual Muscle Testing (MMT) Grading

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