Is gymnastics good for contortionists

Body & mind - Hypermobility - When is mobile too mobile?

As babies, we are all “totally flexible”: joints and spine can be moved consciously or unconsciously into almost any bearable position, which makes standing or walking impossible. Still, because over time the musculoskeletal system matures and grows into its task. The interplay of bones, cartilage, ligaments and muscles is ultimately optimally coordinated during puberty.

It is not uncommon for individual joints to be flexible above average even after they are babies. Depending on the study, 5 to 43 percent of all women are affected. And for a career on the show stage or in certain sports, a pronounced overmobility is almost a basic requirement. However, this unnatural mobility is not healthy for the joints in the long term, and it becomes an acute problem when it leads to pain through physical exertion or normal everyday stress.

Is it just mobile or already hypermobile?

The “Beighton Score” can be used to quickly and easily assess whether there is excessive mobility in the joints. Various skills and characteristics are assessed, which are assessed according to a point system:

  • It is possible to set up the little fingers at 90 ° (with the help of the other hand) (1 point each on the right and left)
  • It is possible to place the thumb on the inside of the forearm (1 point each on the right and left)
  • The elbow joints can be overstretched backwards by at least 10 ° (1 point each on the right and left)
  • The knee joints can be overstretched backwards by at least 10 ° (1 point each on the right and left)
  • There is the ability to stand and touch the floor with both palms of the hands with knees extended (1 point)

A maximum of 9 points can be achieved. As of 5 points, a benign joint hypermobility syndrome is already present by definition. In principle, however, another disease - e.g. rheumatic - could be the cause of the hypermobility, which is why a medical examination is necessary for a reliable diagnosis.

Study should bring clarity

The simplest measure to avoid or reduce pain and excessive wear and tear is to avoid unnatural overstretching. Bandages or cuffs around the corresponding joint can help with this. In addition, no general recommendations can be made, as hypermobility is a very individual phenomenon - and one that has not yet been well researched.

Where exactly the line between “normally mobile” and “hypermobile” or “harmless” and “unhealthy” runs is currently just as unclear as why some hypermobiles have problems and others do not. Among other things, this is the subject of the study at the Inselspital Bern, where women with normal mobility are compared with overmobile women à la “contortionist” Nina Burri. The hoped-for result: a targeted therapy or targeted tips for hypermobile.