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  • Writer's pictureMonique Coombs

Fishermen Wellness: Range of Motion

Range of motion (ROM) refers to how far you can move or stretch a part of your body. For example, how high up you can lift your arms or how much you can rotate your ankle. There are three types of range of motion: passive, active-assistive, and active. These are all defined by whether or not, and how much, you can move voluntarily or require assistance to move.

Photo by Scott Gable Photography

Some of the things that can cause ROM issues include swelling, stiff ligaments or muscles, and pain. If you have limited range of motion, it’s important to seek medical treatment from a doctor or physical therapist but you can reduce chances of limited ROM by staying active and stretching.

Fishermen may experience ROM issues due to other underlying causes like shoulder impingement, tennis elbow, osteoarthritis, and swelling. Repetitive movements (i.e., bending traps, using hog ring pliers, pulling traps, leaning over, etc.) and too much strenuous activity without enough time for rest and recovery can cause issues that can limit your ROM.


There are a few things that you can do to help decrease your chances of limited range of motion and even help increase it:

  1. Stretching: MCFA has been working with FishAbility and OryxWorx to share monthly yoga movements and stretches. Stretching on a regular basis can help enhance muscle function, reduce risk of injury, and increase range of motion. You can see all of the stretches HERE.

  2. Myofascial release foam rolling: This can also help relieve muscle tightness, soreness, and inflammation. Read more about foam rolling at

  3. Stay hydrated: When you’re dehydrated it can make your muscles tight and inflexible (and cause Charley horses!).


Photo by Scott Gable Photography

Fishermen don’t have a lot of time, and what time they do have is often taken up by tasks that support their businesses: heading to the marine store (again), building traps, boat maintenance, filling out VTRs… taking care of your body does not have to take a lot of time, but just like how maintaining the engine on your boat can help stave off bigger issues, stretching and taking care of yourself can help you to continue to do what you need to do. Find time to take care of yourself during your daily activities: stretch in the wheelhouse, drink water while you fuel up your truck, try foam rolling while you’re watching a little TV in the evening.

And if you’re in pain, go get it checked out!


Together, we persevere. (& get stronger!)

The Maine Coast Fishermen's Association, FishAbility, and OryxWorx have partnered together to help share monthly stretches, yoga poses, and information about better physical health for fishermen. Learn more at FishAbility.



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