Stretching for individuals with hypermobility can be a bit more complicated than for those with normal joint mobility. Hypermobility is a condition in which the joints can move beyond their normal range of motion due to laxity in the ligaments and joint capsules. People with hypermobility often have a greater risk of joint injuries, such as sprains and dislocations.
Whether someone with hypermobility should stretch to help with injuries depends on their specific situation, the type of injury, and their individual needs. Here are some considerations:
Consult a healthcare professional: If you have hypermobility and have sustained an injury, it's essential to consult a healthcare professional, such as a physical therapist for a proper evaluation and guidance. They can assess your specific condition and provide personalised recommendations.
Strengthen before stretching: It's often more important for individuals with hypermobility to focus on strengthening the muscles around their joints rather than on increasing flexibility. Strengthening helps provide stability to the joints and can reduce the risk of injury.
Gentle stretching: If stretching is advised by a healthcare professional, it should be done gently and within a controlled range of motion. Overstretching or forcing a joint to its end range can increase the risk of injury for hypermobile individuals.
Proprioception and stability exercises: Balance and proprioception exercises can be essential for individuals with hypermobility. These exercises help improve joint awareness and stability.
Joint protection: Learning how to protect and stabilise your joints during physical activities and daily life is crucial. This may involve using braces or taping to support hypermobile joints.
Avoid overstretching: Hypermobile individuals should avoid excessive stretching or extreme flexibility exercises like deep backbends or contortion without proper guidance.
Mind-body practices: Mindfulness and relaxation techniques, such as yoga or Pilates, can be helpful for individuals with hypermobility. However, they should be practiced with caution and under the guidance of a qualified instructor who is knowledgeable about hypermobility.
In summary, whether someone with hypermobility should stretch to help with injuries depends on their specific situation and the advice of a healthcare professional. The focus should often be on strengthening, stability, and joint protection, and any stretching should be done carefully and within a controlled range of motion to avoid exacerbating joint laxity and the risk of injury.