Helping patients with exercises that promote flexibility and mobility in their lower body is a skill for a Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). In this lesson we will focus on exercises specifically targeting the body to improve the patients range of motion and overall well being.

Recognizing the Importance of Range of Motion in the Lower Body

Exercises that enhance range of motion in the body are designed to maintain and enhance flexibility, muscle strength and circulation. These exercises are especially beneficial for patients who may have limited mobility due to factors like injury, surgery or medical conditions. As a CNA, your knowledge and ability to guide patients through these exercises play a role in their recovery and quality of life.

Guidelines for Assisting Patients with Lower Body Range of Motion Exercises

Before we dive into exercises it’s essential to establish some guidelines to ensure the patients safety and comfort during the exercise routine:

Initial Preparations

  • Knock on the patient’s door before entering to respect their privacy.
  • Introduce yourself using their name. Explain the purpose of the exercise session.
  • Create an environment by closing curtains or doors to provide privacy. 
  • Make sure to wash your hands to maintain hygiene.

Patient Identification:

  • Confirm the patient’s identity by checking their ID or verifying their information.


  • Assist the patient in lying down before starting the exercises.
  • Each exercise should be performed three times. Make sure to move deliberately.

Support and Comfort:

  • Always use both hands to provide support for the patient during the exercises.
  • Continuously assess the patients comfort level through cues or verbal communication throughout the exercise routine.

Modesty and Exposure:

  • To respect the patient’s modesty and comfort only uncover the limb you are working on.

Lower Body Range of Motion Exercises

Hip Extension & Knee Flexion:

Place one hand under the thigh. Hold onto the ankle with your hand. Gently bend the knee towards the chest. Then return it to its position.

Hip Adduction (Straight Leg):

Support the thigh with one hand. Hold onto the ankle with your hand. Move the leg away from the body. Then bring it back, to its starting position.

Hip Adduction (Across the Body):

Similarly support both thigh and ankle. Move the leg across towards the midline of the body then bring it to the center.

Hip Rotation:

Begin by placing one hand beneath the thigh and the other on the ankle. Lift the leg gently. Rotate it towards your body away, from your body and then back to the center position.

Ankle Flexion:

Hold onto the ankle with one hand and grasp the foot with your hand. The foot backward, then forward before returning it to its original position at the center.

Ankle Rotation:

Take hold of both the ankle and foot. Guide the foot in a motion as you perform rotations at the ankle.

Concluding the Exercise Session

Assist with Positioning:

Check if the patient desires to sit up. If they do lend them a helping hand while ensuring their privacy is maintained.

Call Button and Bed Adjustment:

Make sure to place a call button within reach of the patients bed. Remember to wash your hands for proper hygiene.

Inquire about Preferred Head of Bed Position for Comfort:

Ask about how they would prefer their head of bed position for comfort during their recovery process.

Respecting Privacy:

As you bring this exercise session to a close ensure that curtains or doors are closed to respect and protect their privacy.

By following these steps and engaging in these exercises you are actively contributing to enhancing the well being of patients. Your dedication, as a CNA shines through as you provide a range of motion exercises for their lower body mobility needs during their recovery journey.