Hypermobile joints – challenges for dance teachers

Hypermobile is how we describe the joints of people who, without any training have naturally, more (hyper) movement (mobility) in their joints than usual. Some call it being double jointed. The hypermobility comes from ligaments (the tough ban of connective tissue that links bones together across a joint) being too lax or stretchy. This means that they cannot stabilise the joints the way ligaments should. And an important point for teachers to consider is that dancers with hyper mobile joints cannot sense when they are at the end of their joint range. This results in a knee joint when straightened going beyond straight and produces what we refer to as swayback knees. With careful training a dancer can learn to avoid pushing the knees back by pulling up the quadriceps muscles on the front of the thighs and engaging the leg muscles to support and align the knees so that the legs appear straight – although they won’t feel straight to the dancer.

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