Day: July 13, 2012

Hypermobility

Hypermobility is when a joint moves easily beyond the normal range. It is sometimes referred to as loose joints or being double jointed. The joints, muscles, tendons, ligaments are formed more lax. There are simple mobility screenings your doctor can do to diagnose hypermobility; however it is usually benign. Hypermobility Syndrome can be diagnosed if it causes pain in the joints, particularly knees, fingers, hips and elbows.

There are a couple of theories behind what causes one to be hypermobile; one being the heritable gene polymorphisms that effect the development of collagen, elastin, and fibrillins. It is also hypothesized to be a genetic connective tissue disease. It can be a feature of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, causes a higher risk for dislocation, sprains, scoliosis, osteoarthritis and is commonly seen in people with Down syndrome.

As one gets older, you may become less flexible and thus decrease your tendency to being hypermobile. A positive benefit of hypermobility is greater agility to perform certain physical activities. If you are someone with an increased range of motion within some joints (usually females) you may want to change how you exercise and move. Your whole body should aid in the movement (bones, muscles, ligaments and tendons); you should not allow your joints and bones to take the brunt of all the forces. Exercises should be tailored to avoid injury to joints and work on stabilizing and strengthening.

  • Proprioception – This can be addressed by working in multiple planes of motion and applying resistance coming from different directions.
  • Balance – Postural control and balance activate stabilizers to help strengthen around the joints. Try implementing a type of stability device into more standard exercises.
  • Strength – Working on the overall strength of large muscles will shorten the muscles and tendons surrounding the joints and add the majority of external support to the joint, so this is just one more reason to lift weights.

Hypermobility is not anything that is threatening to your body, but you should be aware of whether your body has an increased range of motion. If you do then just be aware of your movements and make sure that you keep the musculature and supporting connective tissue around the joint tight. Try working on proprioception, balance and strength to increase this joint awareness and thus safety and you can enjoy safer joints for longer. If you have any questions about how and what exercises to perform to help alleviate hypermobility, contact Personal Fitness Trainer Amber Walz.