Hypermobility is when the ligaments in a joint are lax, and it causes excessive movement at the joint, past what’s normal. It’s classed as a chronic illness.
If you compare ligaments to elastic bands, in people with hypermobility syndrome, our ‘elastic bands’ are the same length as normal, but just stretchier, which means that our joints move further and there’s a bigger range of movement.
In rhythmics, people (coaches and judges) love hypermobility, but forget that it’s not a ‘useful trait’, but an actual medical condition. It is possible to use it beneficially and not be injured as a result, but it takes great care.
As much as you stretch, you need to strengthen, because how to expect to maintain and use flexibility, if you can’t hold it, and get injured.
I really just want to explain what it means to have hypermobility syndrome, and how it’s not just being able to stretch further naturally.
I have hypermobility syndrome (HMS), which means that I’ve always been fairly flexible, you can even see it in my baby pictures, I look like some sort of circus freak child;-)
HMS worst affects my knees, and they come out of place a lot and they’re laterally instable (really wobbly side to side). But recently, they’ve been worse than usual, which means that I’m constantly wearing knee braces.
I have to be really careful, even just standing up from the floor, and at gym, I can’t leap, pivot, or shift weight too quickly right now.
Some days they cause a lot of pain, and I can’t walk very far, or stand up for too long. And it also means that I can’t walk around the block, or go to the shops, or meet up with friends, because I’d need pitstops every 5 minutes or so.
I know that most rhythmic gymnasts would probably be classed as hypermobile, but having hypermobility syndrome is a bit different. It affects all of my joints and causes joint, muscle, back and neck pain. Along with fatigue and other complications that thankfully don’t affect me. In some people it can be lived with, and well controlled, and in others, HMS can leave them in a wheelchair. I’m hoping that mine will never do that!
For now, I’m taking a truckload of painkillers and carrying on with gym despite nearly every doctor/physio/medical professional etc I’ve seen, telling me to leave. I’ve realised that my body is going to stop working properly one day, so whilst it works, I’m just going to do whatever I want to;-)
HMS symptoms can be helped by painkillers (I hate taking them, but I don’t really have a choice unless I don’t want to do anything), gentle stretching, physio/strengthening exercises, pilates, swimming, wearing braces/supports, and some people like alternative medicine eg. acupuncture.
And as serious as it all sounds (which it kind of is), for some people, the ligaments stiffen as they grow older, so they lose many of the HMS symptoms.
There aren’t many things that irritate me about having HMS. But the main one is when people tell me how I ‘must be feeling’. Just because people see me walking about more, using the stairs, or training harder, doesn’t mean I’m better, or in less pain. I’m just choosing to use my energy in different places.
HMS is an invisible chronic illness.
That means that on the outside, unless I’m wearing braces, you couldn’t tell I had something wrong with me. Something that will affect me forever. I don’t let HMS rule my life, obviously. And there are plenty of people worse off with it than me.
I really just want to raise awareness about it. It’s a fairly common, but misunderstood condition. If anyone has any questions to ask/wants to talk, then I’m more than happy to discuss almost anything. I really really appreciate anyone helping to share this post, it means a lot.
(I never meant for this post to be so long, but I guess I had a lot to say heheh)
Thank you for reading this if you reached the bottom♡
Anonymous asked: Hey sweetie! I just wanted to make sure you were having a good day and I wanted to put a smile onto your face:-) x
Aw thank you gorgeous! This couldn’t have come at a better time, I really really appreciate it! Same goes for you x