Updated: Jun 27, 2020
This post is to help define a few terms used often in the physical therapy world. I was inspired to write this by my editor, as I realize I am responsible for the new gray hairs on his head.
Mobility: is the ability to move freely around a joint (where two bones meet) in order to produce a greater movement; or the ability to move body position or location.
Flexibility: utilizes that mobility of one or more joints and utilizes the surrounding soft tissue to give us range of motion (ROM).
Example of mobility and flexibility:
Standing - bend over to touch your toes - can’t quite make it past the knees.
Lie on your back, bring your knees into your chest - no problem.
—> The difference can be your hamstrings can be limiting you from folding over because they are not flexible enough. But when we "slack" the hamstrings and take them out of the equation, you can totally become a human taco; meaning your joints have the mobility to move in that direction. Your hammies on the other hand...
Stability: is the ability to control motion at the joint or joints with harmonization of the surrounding soft tissues. It is “smart muscles.”
Strength: is the amount of force produced by a muscle.
Motor Control/Movement Patterns: Best said “The process of initiating, directing, and grading purposeful voluntary movement"
This link is also helpful.