Controlled Articular Rotations (CARs)


Movement = Medicine

A lot of people hear that but don’t understand its significance.

So, why is movement medicine?

When we move, oxygen and nutrient rich blood circulates throughout our body. This helps reduce swelling and inflammation by bringing this nutrient rich blood and oxygen to the areas and removing damaged cells.

Movement is also crucial to joint health. Your joints are surrounded by synovial fluid – a lubricant that allows smooth motion to occur. This fluid is brought to the joint through joint movement (which also eliminates calcium deposits and toxins). 

Therefore, joint mobility = joint health (i.e. shoulders, hips, knees, ankles, etc). 

People go through repetitive motions daily without a lot of thought into how they move or if they are moving correctly.

For example, let’s look at the ankle and knee. Everyone with a Fitbit wants to hit 10,000 steps a day. When you take a step, your body is moved by means of gravity and ground reaction force. This sets off a cascade of events throughout the entire kinetic chain. Your heel everts, you ankle needs to dorsiflex, and your Tibia (shin) MUST internally rotate in order for proper mechanics to continue up the chain.

If you don’t have the correct mobility at those two specific joints, and take 10,000 incorrect steps throughout the day, imagine the damage being done or the increased risk of injury, not only at those two joints, but up the entire body (as everything is connected)!

So, what can you do?

Controlled Articular Rotations

Functional Range Conditioning, also known as FRC, was created by @drandreospina and focuses on improving mobility. However, mobility is not just about how well you move and flexibility doesn’t necessarily equate to function.

FRC defines mobility as strength and control in order to achieve greater active range of motion, increase joint strength, and overall joint health.

One principle of FRC is Controlled Articular Rotations, or CARs. 

The goal of CARs is to ACTIVELY move your joint through its entire pain free, available range of motion under muscular and neurological control. 

What you want to work towards is, overtime, improving your motion. If you first start and struggle to achieve normal motion or control, that’s okay. Every time you perform CARs, try to move within a greater range, working to improve control at your outer ranges. This will enhance the adaptability of your tissues as well as overall joint health.

Once you improve and are moving through normal range of motion, try to increase the tension in which you move. In FRC, there are three levels of tension: 0%, 50%, and 100%. This does not mean add weights. It is simply adding “air resistance.” Act as if someone is pushing your arm (if doing shoulder CARs) or leg (if doing hip CARs) down, adding resistance.

When To Use

CARs can be used as part of rehab, a warm-up, or general daily mobility exercises. Our recommendation is that you complete them daily, again, within your pain free, available motion.

Below you will find videos guiding you through CARs for the ankles, knees, hips, wrists, elbows, and shoulders. Use these as a guide to get started.

If you take 5-10 minutes per day to complete these, you will notice improvement. 

Looking For More Help?

*This is helpful information, but it is general information. This is NOT medical advice. If you already have any injury, pain, tightness, etc., please seek help from a licensed and qualified healthcare provider like us, performance physical therapy in Green Bay. A complete solution for what you’re dealing with needs to be customized to all the different factors driving your pain, and those factors will be at least slightly different for each person. These strategies may help, but they’re not likely to be a complete solution for each individual reading this now or in the future.