Impaired physical mobility

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The Effects of Impaired Physical Mobility

The inability to move one's body or extremities independently and voluntarily is referred to as impaired physical mobility. The syndrome limits human movements in situations like illness, recovery from severe surgery, or injury. The change in mobility may be momentary, recurrent, or a chronic occurrence. Conditions including a shattered limb, trauma, stroke, and morbid obesity are characterized by a certain degree of immobility. Reduced physical activity in older adults is fatal because it causes muscle wastage, loss of strength and function, altered gait patterns, stiffening of joints, and other problems that make it difficult for the elderly to walk. The research embarks on availing essential information about immobility; hence, the paper defines the features of the condition, its effects on the different anatomical systems and the necessary efforts in the nursing intervention.

Signs and Symptoms of Impaired Physical Mobility

Some signs and symptoms characterize the Impaired Physical Mobility. The unwillingness to initiate a motion action by a patient indicates a possible incidence of immobility. Consequently, the condition shows through the inability to either act as per instructions or make purpose movements around the surrounding. The failure of the will and the ability of a patient to move arises from the pain experienced in an attempt to change the position of the locomotive body parts. Another symptom is the decrease in the Range of Motion(ROM). The extent of motion around a particular joint or part of the body is the ROM expressed in degrees of flexibility. Therefore, stiffness, pain, and swelling will contribute in the reduced range of motion inhibiting movement (Lahmann et al., 2015).

Effects of Impaired Physical Mobility

Immobility causes harm to the body. The structural design of the human body is in motion, and this reason; movement complications affect the primary systems of the anatomy. Apparently, the impaired physical activity exposes an individual to possible dermal breakdown. According to Morais et al. (2017), when the skin disintegrates, there is ulceration of internal organs and development of necrosis. The nervous system suffers from peripheral nerve palsy brought about by the considerable pressure and constant nerve stimulation.

Another effect of impaired physical mobility is the wasting of muscles and bones. The muscle strength and size decrease from disuse. Contracture from reduced movement in the joint results to ankylosis. Incidentally, the bones weaken from increased calcium absorption. Consequentially, the absence of action will cause urine retention, which leads to the development of kidney stones. Moreover, the stagnant urine favors bacterial growth for the urinary tract infections. Again, the inability to move causes constipation, appetite loss, and anorexia. The gut slows down its functions resulting in appetite loss or anorexia. Therefore, the interference in the digestion and the rate of nutrient utilization causes constipation. Moreover, the metabolic rate of proteins increases, creating a deficit in the balance of nitrogen. With time, the metabolism decreases ad the gaseous and nutrients exchange alters.

When a patient is immobile, it may predispose them to hypostatic pneumonia. Immobility reduces the respiration rate and depth as well as the motion of the secretions (Morais et al., 2017). Consequently, secretion stasis and congestion makes the individual be at risk of contracting an infection of the respiratory tract characterized by; coughing, higher pulse rate, temperature rise, dyspnea, discomfort and jabbing chest pains. The disuse of the regions of lung tissue may lead to their collapse or incomplete expansion. Due to the positioning of the patient on the bed, the coughing mechanism impaired to a reduced expansion of the chest cage.

The cardiovascular system suffers harm from the absence of physical activity. The motions of the muscles assist in the blood movements of the central circulatory system. When the body is at rest, the heart does more work than during mobility. The activity increase of the cardiac muscles emanates from high viscosity and a reduction in the venous return. For this reason, a patient is vulnerable to elevated heart rate, increased stroke volume, and cardiac return. In addition to that, the calcium content in the weakening bones enters the bloodstream resulting in coagulation. Orthostatic hypotension is common for immobile patients, causing vasoconstriction from muscle tone loss (Lahmann et al., 2015).

Lastly, immobility in patients creates a high risk of depression. Since the patients depend on assistance for simple tasks, the sense of powerlessness overcomes them. As stated by Pitkälä et al. (2013), inactivity decreases sensory stimulation, which increases the probability of recession. It shows by apathy reactions of the patient and social withdrawal. As a result, the recovery progress of a patient slows down due to unstable mental state which is detrimental to the whole healing process.

Interventional Practices for Impaired Physical Mobility

Interventional practices for impaired physical mobility go a long way to reduce the effects that may arise from the inactivity. The primary cause of action is to prevent the dependent disabilities and maintenance of the existent mobility. Therefore, as stated by Pitkälä et al. (2013), specialized care is vital where there is a regular position change in the patient, therapeutic exercises, and appropriate nutrition schedule. Indicators of progress are physical independence from the patient, increased mobility and adapting gadgets that assist in movement.


Lahmann, N. A., Tannen, A., Kuntz, S., Raeder, K., Schmitz, G., Dassen, T., & Kottner, J. (2015). Mobility is the key! Trends and associations of common care problems in German long-term care facilities from 2008 to 2012. International journal of nursing studies, 52(1), 167-174.

Morais, P. C. A., Mauricio, T. F., Moreira, R. P., Guedes, N. G., Rouberte, E. S. C., Ferreira, J. D. F., & de Lima, P. A. (2017). Nursing Diagnosis of Impaired Physical Mobility in Elderly People at Primary Health Care. International Archives of Medicine, 10.

Pitkälä, K., Savikko, N., Poysti, M., Strandberg, T., & Laakkonen, M. L. (2013). Efficacy of physical exercise intervention on mobility and physical functioning in older people with dementia: a systematic review. Experimental Gerontology, 48(1), 85-93.

April 13, 2023

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Human Body

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