Hypermobility

Nikki Donovan

Hypermobility

Hypermobility isn’t a term we hear much in the weight training world. It’s typically associated with extreme flexibility (e.g.gymnast, ballet dancers), but this isn’t necessarily the case. It’s generally accepted that some people are more naturally flexible than others, but hypermobility doesn’t mean flexible muscles, but that a joint’s ligaments are lax.

 

Some people with hypermobility may experience no pain or related injuries, if there is adequate strength and control through range. For those who are in pain, there will rarely be actual damage to the structures around the joint, but issues arise when the joint feels unstable, you lack confidence in its ability or if it sprains or dislocates regularly.There is an increased risk of injury without adequate strength through range orif joint proprioception is affected (proprioception = the body’s ability to sense its location in space).

 

Assessment

To be classified as hypermobile there is a test that assesses the mobility of several joints, called the Beighton Hypermobility Score (score of 5 of more = hypermobile). Test yourself:

·      Can you bend your thumb back to the front of your forearm? Check both sides. If you can do it on both sides, give yourself two points. If you can do it on one side, give yourself one point.

·      Can you bend your little fingers back to a 90 degree angle? Give yourself a point for each side if you can do it.

·      Can you bend your elbows and/or your knees backwards? (This is the hyperextension we are all used to seeing). Give yourself a point for each joint and side if you can do it. (The maximum total score for this section is four points.)

·      From a standing position, can you fold forward and place your hands flat on the floor with the knees straight? If yes, you get one more point.

 

“Strength is what keeps you stable”

The best way to counteract its negative effects is through strengthening the muscles through range. Despite the lack of sensory information from ligaments, we can get the same feedback from the muscles, if we train them correctly. Meaning we need to establish strength through range and learn how to isolate moving one joint while the rest of the body is still.Joint laxity is affected by how your entire body moves through the entire day, by strengthening the supporting muscles we can increase stability and let the brain know where the joints are located and how they are moving.

 

Types of training 

Incorporate these into your training to see a big difference:

·     Isometric training - for brain-muscle connection and analgesic effects

·     Proprioceptive training - for awareness and joint position sense

·     Neuromuscular training - for joint stability and muscular recruitment patterns

·     Strength training - for muscular strength and control through range

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