joint stiffness

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1 A measure of the resistance of a joint to movement. It is defined as the change in joint angle divided by a change in joint torque or moment. Joint stiffness depends on the resistances offered by joint structures (including muscles and ligaments), skin, and subcutaneous connective tissue.

2 A condition, characterized by difficulty in moving a joint, which is usually accompanied by discomfort and pain. Joint stiffness often follows a joint injury when muscles go into a protective spasm, which reduces movement. Joint stiffness should be treated cautiously and no attempt should be made to move the joint forcibly. Persistent, painful stiffness requires medical investigation and treatment.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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