Often described as being “double jointed”, Hypermobility and its related conditions are misunderstood by many. It is a great attribute to have a good range of movement and be free and able to move fluidly. But what happens when we simply have too much movement? Our Podiatrists can help you discover how your Hypermobility is affecting your Lower Limb Pain.
What you need to know about Lower Limb Hypermobility
If you are hypermobile, your joints are normally more flexible that other people’s (you may think of yourself as being ‘double jointed’). This extra flexibility is associated with the elasticity of Collagen – the main structural protein in various connective tissues within the body.
Hypermobile people can easily injure soft tissues around joints because their joints can twist or over extend easily. Whilst the majority of hypermobile people recover from an injury (though this may be slower than normal), others may only partially recover or continue to repeatedly injure various parts of their body. (https://www.hypermobility.org/what-are-hypermobility-syndromes)
Strength training in those with Hypermobility has been shown to be very beneficial. Stronger muscles, bones and tendons help to stabilse joints and reduce risk of injury.
Sometimes modifying your activities can be very helpful when managing symptoms related to Hypermobility. Lower impact activities such as Swimming or Cycling may not exacerbate symptoms as much as activities like Running for example.
When managing Hypermobility syndromes it is important to stay up to date with any developments and research. The HMSA provides regular updates and important information. https://www.hypermobility.org
Foot & Ankle Stability
The joints of the Foot & Ankle need to be stable in order to support our body weight and the external forces applied to our bodies during movement. In those with Hypermobility – that much needed stability can be lacking, leading to increased risk of injury. Appropriate Footwear, Foot Orthoses and Exercise can often be necessary in the management of Hypermobility at the Foot & Ankle.
Hypermobility & Lower Limb Pain
‘Hypermobility can lead to structural defects in the body’s connective tissues, allowing micro-traumas, which are not always visible on tests such as MRIs, to occur repeatedly in the same area of connective tissue without completely healing. Injuries associated with hypermobility syndromes may cause immediate ‘acute’ pain and can also lead to longer-term ‘chronic pain’, which can be severe and widespread.’
Ankle Sprains are extremely common and, while some are just bad luck, others may be a result of ‘Chronic Ankle Instability’. This is a condition related to Hypermobility of the Foot & Ankle, where the collagen in our tissues is slightly too elastic. This can lead to issues with control, balance and strength. Chronic Ankle Sprains often require management with treatments such as Footwear, Bracing, Exercise and Foot Orthoses.
Tendinopathy is a condition of tendons that can result in pain, swelling and loss of function. This can occur at numerous sites in the Foot & Ankle. Tendons around joints in the Foot & Ankle are more likely to become injured in those with Hypermobility as their joints are more prone to over-extending or twisting. Tendon pain can be quite disabling and prevent people from taking part in the activities they love, whether that’s walking, running, dancing or competitive sport.