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Do you have Joint Hypermobility?

Do you have flat feet?

Do you ever get joint sprains just from sleeping or sitting in an awkward position for too long?

Do you have any double jointed party tricks?

You could have benign joint hypermobility syndrome. 

42133666 - close view of a gymnast legs on a balance beam

What is joint Joint Hypermobility?

Joint hypermobility occurs when the collagen in our connective tissue is more flexible and allows pain free movement beyond the range of most peoples’ joints. Connective tissue is what holds our cells together, it is found throughout our body including in our skin, our fascia, tendons and ligaments. By and large the flexibility of our collagen is determined by our genetics, so joint hypermobility often runs in families. Joint Hypermobility is graded on a scale of how many joints are involved. You may have noticed elbows or knees that look like they bend in the opposite direction, or thumbs and shoulders that can bend further than most people. If you have ever been able to bend forward at the hips with your knees straight and put your hands flat on the floor you are on the spectrum of joint hypermobility. 

Should I Worry About Joint Hypermobility?

Joint hypermobility isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however it can put more pressure on the muscles around the hypermobile joints to help to control the extra movement available at those joints. Because of the extra flexibility in our joints, our brain can misinterpret where our joints are in space. We can be more clumsy at times because our limbs can move further than our brain expects. When the muscles around the hypermobile joints weaken, such as after years of sitting at a desk, our nervous system can cause our weak muscles to grip and tighten to try and restrict the extra range of joint movement, making us feel stiff. If you think about gymnasts or ballerinas, they are extremely flexible but also extremely strong to control that extra range of movement. 

What Can I Do About Joint Hypermobility?

Think about the time of your life when you felt the best in your body. What was happening at that time to help you to feel so good? Were you exercising more regularly, sitting less? Often hypermobile people enjoy exercise like Pilates or swimming because it helps to activate muscles all over the body to support all the joints, rather than just isolating a particular joint or movement. It is important when trying to strengthen the muscles around the hypermobile joints that we don’t continue to push the joints into their extra range of movement. Just because you are capable of almost twisting yourself inside out doesn’t mean you should try to do it all the time. When exercising and strengthening, people with hypermobile joints often benefit from being able to see their reflection in a mirror to help them control the movement. Try standing in front of a mirror and closing your eyes, adjust your body to what feels straight. Now open your eyes and have a look at your posture. Is one shoulder higher than the other, are your knees bowing backwards, do your elbows look inverted? Especially when exercising, try to limit pushing the joints beyond what looks “visually straight”. 

How Can Osteopathic Treatment Help My Hypermobile Joints?

Just because we have hypermobile joints doesn’t mean that we feel flexible all the time. Osteopathic treatment can help to improve range of movement over areas that feel restricted to help get you back to YOUR normal range of movement. It is important to keep our bodies moving to keep our muscles and joints healthy. Your Osteopath may advise on exercises that may be helpful for you.

If you have further questions please consult your healthcare practitioner.


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Alternatively, you can call us at the clinic on 03 9908 2844.

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