21 Apr Hypermobility
What is it?
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. Joint hypermobility is what some people refer to as having "loose joints" or being "double-jointed".
Many people with hypermobile joints don't have any problems and some people such as ballet dancers may actually benefit from the increased flexibility. However some people with joint hypermobility can have symptoms such as pain or stiffness in the joints and muscles, joints that dislocate easily, fatigue, recurrent sprains or injuries and even digestive problems. If hypermobility occurs alongside symptoms such as these, it is known as joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS).
How can Pilates help?
Hypermobile individuals have to work harder to maintain joint and muscle strength. Pilates helps to control and support Hypermobile joints by building up muscle strength around joints so they perform in more functional positions. Individuals with Hypermobility should avoid overstretching their joints. Pilates practice should focus on good joint mechanisms, e.g. keeping a soft bend in hyper-extensive elbows when doing weight bearing arm exercises on all fours.
The focus should also be on core strength to increase stability in the trunk and improve postural alignment. Individuals with hypermobile joints may find it hard to coordinate movements of the arms and legs so exercises such as superman from four point kneeling or dead bugs would also be helpful. As would exercises to improve balance and proprioception would be beneficial, such as teaser or roll like a ball.
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