Member Case Study: Hypermobility

author : AMSSM
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I am hyperflexible and tend to overextend my legs while running, resulting in pain after some training sessions. Is there anything I can do to help prevent this?

Question from RunnerGirl

I am hyperflexible and tend to overextend my legs while running, resulting in pain after some training sessions. I also have a habit locking my knees when standing or doing certain leg exercises. I try to be aware of my overextension, but is there anything I can do to help prevent this? Or is it going to be mind over matter?

Answer from Luis E. Palacio, MD

Member AMSSM

“Hyperflexibility,” also termed hypermobility, is frequent in the general population. In athletes, joint pain can be an associated feature. This trait is often inherited, and some report parents or siblings with similar characteristics.

There are varying degrees of hypermobility, and certain types affect multiple body systems. The Beighton scale is a tool some clinicians use to identify the extent of the problem. Flat feet (pes planus), another feature in some hypermobile athletes, can also lead to knee pain.

The following tips may help you:

  1. Avoid overextension (yes, this is “mind over matter”)
     

  2. Join a structured physical therapy program that includes:

    a. Strength training with high repetitions and low weight to enhance muscle tone.
    b. Postural training and core strengthening.
     

  3. Perform low impact aerobic exercise (i.e., swimming or cycling) to prevent the joint stress produced by running.
     

  4. Achieve joint protection with bracing or proper taping to avoid overextension during activities such as running.
     

  5. Wear orthotics if you have flat feet.

Joints are similar to car tires. Some brands hold up better than others, but when driven aggressively, they don’t last.

I would encourage you to seek a formal evaluation of your joints (hands, elbows, shoulders, spine, and feet) by a physician experienced in treating hypermobility.

Thank you for your inquiry.

Sincerely,

Luis E. Palacio, MD
Director Primary Care Sports Medicine
Tufts University Family Medicine Residency

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date: June 4, 2008

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

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The American Medical Society for Sports Medicine (AMSSM) was formed in 1991 to fill a void that has existed in sports medicine from its earliest beginnings. The founders most recognized and expert sports medicine specialists realized that while there are several physician organizations which support sports medicine, there has not been a forum specific for primary care non-surgical sports medicine physicians.

FIND A SPORTS MEDICINE DOCTOR

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