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Hypermobility And Injuries

Hypermobile joints, also known as

  • increased joint flexibility
  • increased joint laxity
  • increased joint mobility

basically points that the patient can move in a range of motion that is a lot more beyond the normal individual (ie excessive joint movement/flexibility). Yes, it's beneficial in some sports such as ballet, but we need to highlight that research shows that patients with hypermobile joints are more at risk of:

  • joint dislocations
  • ligament sprains

in patients who have joint hypermobility. Because of this, coaches and trainers need to screen and identify participants to prevent such hypermobility-related incidents from occurring where possible. There is a positive and direct correlation between hypermobility (increase joint flexibility, range of movement) and injury risk.

There is a specific study that was done in year 2005 that was published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine where the study surveyed 200 female netball players who were under 16 years old, and they were assessed/checked for increased joint flexibility/hypermobility using Beighton score. The study showed that joint hypermobility was very correlated to injuries in this group of netball players.

The most common areas/sites of injury are:

  1. Ankle sprains (42%)
  2. Knee sprain injuries (27%)
  3. Finger sprains and injuries (15%)

Those with increased joint mobility and flexibility had more injuries.

If coaches, trainers and PE teachers can help identify players with joint hypermobility and flag/refer them to therapy/training, we will focus on very specific training techniques which goal is to increase the strength, stamina and stability of the muscles especially at higher-risk joints (ankle, knee, fingers etc).

By doing so, we can help extend the sports life of the players/athletes by:

  • preventing hypermobility-related injuries
  • decrease severity of these injuries
  • decrease their recurrence