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Hypermobility in sports

Updated: Mar 21

Hypermobility, which is a condition where a person's joints can move beyond their normal range of motion, can have both positive and negative effects on sports performance.

On the positive side, hypermobility can provide an advantage in certain sports that require increased flexibility, such as gymnastics, dance, and figure skating. Hypermobility can allow athletes to achieve extreme ranges of motion and perform complex movements with ease.

However, on the negative side, hypermobility can also increase the risk of joint injury and instability, as the joints may lack the stability and support necessary for certain activities. This can affect an athlete's ability to generate power, control movements, and maintain proper form, which can ultimately decrease their overall performance.

Additionally, hypermobility can lead to a higher incidence of chronic pain and discomfort, which can limit an athlete's ability to train and perform at their best.

Overall, the effect of hypermobility on sports performance depends on the specific sport and the individual athlete. While hypermobility can provide certain advantages in some sports, it can also pose challenges and risks that need to be managed and addressed in order to optimize an athlete's performance.

There are a few ways to identify if an athlete is hypermobile. Here are some common methods:

  1. Beighton Score: The Beighton score is a quick and easy test that assesses joint hypermobility. It involves five simple manoeuvres, such as bending the pinky finger back beyond 90 degrees, and assigning a score based on the range of motion achieved. A score of four or more out of nine indicates hypermobility.

  2. Range of Motion Testing: Joint range of motion can be assessed using a goniometer, a tool that measures joint angles. Hypermobility is typically defined as joint range of motion that exceeds the normal range by more than 10 degrees.

  3. Clinical Examination: A trained healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist or sports medicine physician, can perform a clinical examination to assess joint hypermobility. This may involve looking at joint flexibility, checking for joint instability, and assessing any pain or discomfort associated with movement.

  4. Imaging Studies: In some cases, imaging studies such as X-rays or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to assess joint hypermobility and any associated damage or injury.

It's important to note that not all hypermobility is problematic, and not all athletes with hypermobility experience negative effects. However, if an athlete is identified as hypermobile, it may be important to monitor their joint health and provide appropriate training and support to help prevent injury and optimise performance.

DISCLAIMER: Criss Cross Active does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.

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