The Square Sit

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Figure 1.1 Physical Attributes Required for Function

Normal Joint Play (arthrokinematics) is required to produce normal Passive Range of Motion (PROM) (osteokinematics), which is required to produce normal Flexibility, which is required to produce normal Strength, which is required to produce Basic Function, which is required to produce Sports Function.

A common functional goal after orthopedic surgery is ‘square sitting’. As many of us have experienced, it takes more than repetitive sitting to produce this functional activity.

Functional activities are the accrual of physical attributes including joint play, passive range of motion, flexibility and strength as seen in Figure 1.1 Physical Attributes Required for Function. All of these components are required in differing measures for specific functional activities such as ‘square sitting’. 

For any functional goal, in this case a “square sit,” determining which functional attributes are needed for normal function and to what measure they are required can be done using a simple photograph of the functional activity as seen in Figure 1.2. For more complicated functional activities videos with software programs that freeze frames and measure joint angles such as Coach’s Eye can help break down sport function into component parts.  No matter how normal function is evaluated it should always include observation of how much joint play, passive range of motion, flexibility and strength is required to complete the normal activity. An example of this process is seen in the chart below where the primary attributes of function are defined for square sitting.

The normal values required for the specific function are then compared to the patient’s values for each of the attributes. Where the patient is missing joint play, passive range of motion, flexibility or strength, a treatment plan can be developed to address the deficit. To maintain the gains achieved in treatment, clients should be sent home with home exercises such as those found in the Canine Home Exercises Template To Promote Square Sitting.

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Figure 1.2 Functional PROM of the Stifle Joint

Using a photograph or video software, baseline functional PROM can be defined for any functional activity. This photograph demonstrates the delineation of functional stifle flexion PROM for sitting.

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Sasha A Foster