Can Some Joints Move Too Much?

  • 30th September 2022
  • Pain, Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation

Some people have 1 or 2 joints that move too much due to previous injury / trauma e.g. knees and shoulders, whilst there are others that are diagnosed with Hypermobility (which means lots of joints are too mobile). Some sports and activities require you to have lots of movement and Hypermobility is often prevalent in gymnasts and dancers. However, with greater range of movement of the joints, comes a greater need for ensuring strength and stability through this entire range to prevent injury. So how do we best look after our patients with hypermobile joints? As Hypermobility is common in dancers there is a lot of research done in this population but in clinic we know from experience that the findings transfer across other mobile athletes. Let’s have a look at the research……

Studies have shown that:

1) Hypermobile dancers are more prone to injury than those who are non-hypermobile

2) Tendon injuries occur more commonly in hypermobile dancers causing increased risk in having to take time off

3) Hypermobile individuals tend to have reduced proprioception which contributes to increased risk of injury

These findings are why supplemental training is paramount to ensure these athletes remain in top form and reduce injury risk. It is more than just core strengthening exercises. It is about learning to use your whole body as a functional unit, engaging many muscle groups together simultaneously, and training across multiple planes of movement.

Training for Hypermobility needs to include 3 areas of focus:

  • Neuromuscular control
    Neuromuscular control is simply a fancy way of saying brain-muscle habit. Due to our everyday activities and how we use our bodies, we can end up creating subconscious motor patterning that may be unhelpful in the long run. If we do not utilize our muscles and joints effectively across our whole body, this may cause overloading on certain areas leading to pain and injury.
  • Multiplanar strengthening
    Due to increased range of movement as a result of hypermobility, it is important to work on strength to ensure you can control your entire available range. However, in addition to this, strengthening needs to be functional and performed across multiple planes of movement.
  • Proprioceptive cueing
    Proprioception is your brain’s ability to sense where your joints are in space. It is an awareness of the position and movement of your body, which is often reduced in hypermobile individuals. Therefore cueing to address this and understanding the nuances of movement is important to help build better body awareness; to learn what you need to feel when engaging the right muscles and focusing on optimal alignment. Because practice does not make perfect – practice makes permanent. If you’re practising movements without the right form, you are simply reinforcing a brain-muscle habit that is perhaps not helping you.

If you have Hypermobility, and perhaps struggle with associated chronic pain or fatigue, or whether you simply want to learn how to adapt your training to your body, I would love to help you. Equally, if you suspect you may have hypermobility and would like an assessment, we can help with this too.

As a Hypermobile person myself, I can empathize with the pain and struggles of hypermobility as it is a journey I have travelled for a long time (oh the stories I could tell). And while it can be frustrating at times as it feels like your body is not doing what you want it to, learning about how your body works and moves is an investment that you will carry with you for life. To help keep you in good condition to do all the things you love.

If you find yourself feeling stuck, not seeing much change or results, feeling tired all the time, having recurrent sprains/strains/injuries, or feel lopsided or twisted, perhaps it is time to make a change in how you approach movement training.

As much as I have learned over the years, I remain a lifelong student. I hope to help you along your own journey by sharing what I know with you.

On this journey with you,



Briggs et al 2009 Injury and joint hypermobility syndrome in ballet dancers—a 5-year follow-up

Day et al 2011 Hypermobility and dance: a review

Biernacki et al 2018 Risk factors for lower-extremity injuries in female ballet dancers: a systematic review

What some patients with Hypermobility are saying:

“I cannot recommend Sharon at SPEAR Physiotherapy highly enough. Sharon quickly diagnosed my core problem (Hypermobility) and identified which muscles we needed to strengthen. She really pays attention to detail on positioning to ensure that we are targeting the correct muscles, and this has meant that it has been more effective than any previous physio I have tried. Sharon is very skilled in assessing how the body is working as a whole and adapting exercises to ensure I gain the maximum benefit and that I continue making progress. As an added bonus she is very patient and encouraging which has helped the way I approach exercise and manage my body.”

“[Name removed for confidentiality] was raving about you and how you managed to pick up so much with her ?. Will be referring more folk down the line as you’ve been fab with me too. It’s great to have someone that picks up on subtle things that can have a huge impact on the rest of the chain.”

If this is something you want to work on, give us a call on 01224 900102 or alternatively book an appointment via the following link