Am I Hypermobile?
Posted on 4th January 2024 at 10:48
Have you ever found yourself effortlessly bending your fingers backward, or perhaps touching your toes without breaking a sweat? If you have, you might be wondering: am I hypermobile? And if so, what does being hypermobile actually mean?
To help you work out whether you are, we’ve put together this quick guide!
What does being hypermobile actually mean?
First things first, let’s talk about what hypermobility actually means. Simply put, hypermobility refers to the ability of a joint to move beyond its normal range of motion. Some people are naturally more flexible than others, and that’s completely normal. However, when flexibility goes above and beyond the typical range, it might be an indication of hypermobility.
The Beighton Score
One common way to check for hypermobility is the Beighton Score, a simple test that evaluates the flexibility of various joints in your body. You might be hypermobile if you can bend your pinky finger backward beyond 90 degrees, or if you can place your palms flat on the floor without bending your knees.
Can being hypermobile cause problems?
Whilst hypermobile individuals often excel in activities like gymnastics, dance, or yoga, it can cause some issues that you need to be aware of. Those extra bendy joints might be prone to injuries and strains, as they lack the stability that less flexible joints possess. This increased flexibility can sometimes lead to joint pain, especially if you overuse your joints or engage in high-impact activities without proper support.
It’s important to note that hypermobility can be a part of a larger connective tissue disorder known as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). EDS affects the collagen in your body, making your joints and skin more elastic than usual. If you suspect that your hypermobility is causing you discomfort or interfering with your daily life, it’s a good idea to consult a healthcare professional. They can help determine the underlying cause and provide tailored advice on managing your flexibility.
How can you manage your hypermobility?
Now, if you’re reading this and nodding your head, thinking, “Yep, this all sounds like me!” don’t worry—being hypermobile isn’t something you need to panic about. It just means you need to be a bit more mindful of your body and how you use it. Here are a few friendly tips:
Strengthen your muscles: Building strong muscles around your joints can provide much-needed support. Incorporate resistance training into your fitness routine to enhance stability and protect your hypermobile joints.
Practice mindful movement: Engage in exercises like Pilates or Tai Chi that focus on controlled movements and body awareness. These practices can help you strengthen your core and improve your balance, reducing the risk of injuries.
Listen to your body: Pay attention to how your body feels during and after physical activities. If you experience pain or discomfort, it’s a sign to slow down and give your joints some rest. Pushing through the pain can worsen the situation.
Supportive footwear: Invest in comfortable shoes with proper arch support. Your feet bear the brunt of your body’s weight, so providing them with adequate support can alleviate stress on your joints.
Stay hydrated: Keeping your body well-hydrated maintains the elasticity of your tissues. Drink plenty of water throughout the day to support your overall joint health.
Consider physical therapy: A physical therapist can create a personalised exercise program to improve your joint stability and reduce the risk of injuries. They can also teach you proper techniques to protect your hypermobile joints during various activities.
Interested to learn how physical therapy could help you manage your hypermobility? Book an appointment and talk to our friendly team of experts today!
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