Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome in Dancers
WHAT IS IT?
Benign joint hypermobility syndrome (BJHS) is a connective tissue disorder that involves excessive joint movement occasionally alongside other digestive, skin or inflammatory issues. Hypermobility is common in dancers with hypermobility and BJHS being 11 times more likely in student and professional dancers than their non-dancing counterparts.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN IF YOU ARE HYPERMOBILE?
If you have excessive movement at your joints, it’s likely that you have more trouble controlling your movement. It makes sense, doesn’t it? If your elbow bends back the other way but your brain thinks that THAT is straight, chances are you’ll have difficulty knowing exactly where your joints are positioned. The most common injuries in dancers occur from overuse (secondary to poor movement control). Those dancers that don’t have enough strength and awareness to control their hypermobility are at an increased risk of injury. Unfortunately, those that do get injured can have trouble progressing as far in their career.
WHY SO COMMON IN DANCERS?
When well-controlled, having increased movement at your joints can be an asset for dancers! Students don’t BECOME hypermobile because they dance; rather they dance BECAUSE they’re hypermobile. Having joints that move beyond the normal range of motion allows ballet dancers to achieve those aesthetically pleasing lines and be able to move into exquisite positions seemingly effortlessly.
WHAT SHALL I DO WITH THIS INFORMATION?
It has been proven that dancers who have improved neuromuscular joint control are at a lower risk of injury. Given that injury in the hypermobile population can limit progression in the career; we advise that you contact your dance physiotherapist at Langwarrin Sports Medicine Centre for a consult to asses you and provide a conditioning program to reduce your risk of injury.
Follow this link to see if you might have hypermobile joints:
Written by: Alanna Churcher
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