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The fringe festival is now in full swing, bringing the weird, wonderful and sometimes unimaginable acts. Perhaps you have seen the ‘Cowboy’ who now holds the world record for sword swallowing after having magnets implanted in his chest, behind the sternum… The human body is sometimes altered according to our desires but sometimes it just presents itself structurally different to the ‘norm’.

You may have heard the phrase ‘it’s as impossible as licking your elbow’… Well for some of us that is not true…

Karla licking elbow

Perhaps you or someone you know has a similar trick up their sleeve. Hypermobility is common in the general population and may be present in one or more joints. It is the term used to describe the ability to move joints beyond the normal range of movement. It’s necessarily not as cool as it may look… In many people joint hypermobility may not cause any symptoms, however, for others it is associated with joint and ligament injuries, pain, fatigue and other symptoms.

A hypermobile joint is lax as a result of a gene mutation affecting the body’s connective tissue proteins. The looser connective tissue, particularly ligaments and tendons, gives rise to an increased risk of soft tissue injuries and dislocations as the joint can over extend or twist easily.

It has been found that individuals with hypermobile joints have impaired proprioception compared with that of matched control groups. Although you can’t change the structure of the lax tissues, research has shown that appropriate exercise can increase the control and stability of the muscles around the joints.

So how do you prevent an injury?
The key is to strengthen the stabilising muscles around the joint through guided resistance training. Knowing your limits and how to control movement patterns is essential. Try to avoid loading the joint past its normal range. The idea is to develop protective reflex actions when a joint is being pushed past it’s normal range.

For example, if you are known to have knees which hyperextend and play a sport which involves jumping, knowing how to control your landing without allowing the knee to move into hyperextension is essential in preventing knee injuries or muscle tears. In addition, it is important to strengthen the muscles around the knee, hip and ankle to better stabilise the joint.

If you have any concerns or questions regarding your joints, feel free to ask any one of our qualified staff members.

Enjoy the fringe festivities!

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