Hypermobility – Friend or Foe?

Here we discuss the issues relating to hypermobility

A popular issue with many runners is Hypermobility. Joint hypermobility means that some or all of a person’s joints have an unusually large range of movement. People with hypermobility are particularly supple and able to move their limbs into positions others find impossible. For some sports performer’s hypermobility can have a positive effect; however for some runners with joint hypermobility, it can have a number of unpleasant symptoms. These include;

  • pain and stiffness in the joints and muscles
  • clicking joints
  • joints that dislocate (come out of the correct position) easily fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • recurrent injuries – such as sprains

How do it test if i am hypermobile?

The Beighton score is calculated as follows:

  1. One point if while standing forward bending you can place palms on the ground with legs straight
  2. One point for each elbow that bends backwards
  3. One point for each knee that bends backwards
  4. One point for each thumb that touches the forearm when bent backwards
  5. One point for each little finger that bends backwards beyond 90 degrees

beighton

 

Often runners will try to find the route cause which often is something they inherited in specific genes passed on by their parents. Genes that are responsible for the production of collagen, an important protein that helps to glue tissues together, are suspected of playing a role. There are no quick fixes however as a runner there are a number of exercises that can be done to help limit the effects.

The following exercise is geared to help return blood supply and gently stress the ankle joint which will help increase the strength of the ligaments and muscles supporting the joint therefore increasing balance.

  1. Standing on one leg – a very simple exercise that focuses on balance and proprioception. Raise one leg to 90 degrees and stand on your supporting leg for 30 seconds. Then change legs. Hold for longer as it gets easier.
  2. Balance and stability – as a progression set up 4 cones (as below) and standing on one leg reach and touch each cone. This exercise will work on balance and stability which are integral parts of your running performance.unknown-1

 

Reference

Beighton PH, Solomon L, Soskolne CL. Articular mobility in an African population. Ann Rheum Dis. 1973; 32: 413-17

 

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