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For Parents Does anyone else have a hypermobile gymnast?

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Mom2GymMonkey

New Member
Dec 29, 2008
49
My DS(7) is hypermobile (doublejointed) in most of her joints, (except fingers and wrists, basically!) We knew her elbows were double jointed but her coach noticed she seemed to hyperextend and hyperflex on certain positions. It made it difficult for her to "get" her backbend kickover until coach saw this and helped her correct it. He suggested I get the ped to check her out and I did. She is medically clear to continue in gymnastics but after his exam, he noted she is hypermobile in almost all of her joints. Because of this, her coach works with her on ways to control herself as her body will actually go further than it should in some positions. Her coach says he is willing to work with her and he thinks she should do fine once she starts competing (she is pre-team right now) but also said she will be have to be extra careful because she is more susceptible to hyperflexion injuries.

I am just wondering if there are other parents who have hypermobile gymnasts who compete? Are there any tips or tricks you can share with me? Should she use any extra braces or supports? Her ped left that up to the coach who said he would watch her and make recommendations as she goes along.
 
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CoachGoofy

Guest
Hypermobile coach/gymnast here. Sorry to butt in, saw the topic.

With me we did a lot of stuff for stabilization via my OWN muscles, so that I'd not be relying on braces. I was also not allowed to do oversplits without something under my knee (so as to prevent it from hyperextending). Anything that made me crack consistently was right out, and we needed to find a different way of doing it.

In addition to doing a lot of strength work, we made sure my flexibility stuff emphasized doing things CORRECTLY rather than hitting a huge position through the path of least resistance.

Good luck to you and your gymmie.
 

gym law mom

Active Member
Proud Parent
Dec 23, 2006
2,527
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Just some thoughts----don't have the hypermobility problem with my kid. I think your pediatrician basically left you hanging, by dumping all this back in the coach's lap. Many docs just don't know alot about sports(and gymnastics in particular) to do much more than generalize.

I think CoachGoofy has some good advice in avoiding braces---the muscles around the joint being braced tend to weaken since the joint gets support from the brace and not the muscles. Then that still leaves you with questions about what to do to strengthen various joints and which ones should be worked on. Ask your dd's coach if he knows of any good physical therapists that work with kids and also check with your pediatrician. They can work with your dd outside of gym giving her exercises to do at home to hopefully decrease the mobility in the joints. Also a good therapist is excellent at referring you on to a specialist if they see things aren't working.

Glad to hear the coach identified the problem and is willing to work with your dd and not let her do anything that could cause injury.
 

Mom2GymMonkey

New Member
Dec 29, 2008
49
Thank you both for your suggestions. :)

RIght now, her biggest problem seems to be her elbows, shoulders and hips. Her ped did say she should do "girl pushup" instead of regular pushups because she was straining her elbows too much when he watched her. Because her coach was willing to work with her, and had told us that up front, her ped did feel comfortable letting him make the calls, especially since it was the coach who referred us to the ped to start with. The ped was impressed with that.

I agree with you Coach Goofy that I would rather her strengthen her muscles than rely on braces but I'm not sure how to make sure she does that. I had not thought of a PT, though her ped did mention if her hypermobility became a problem we should consider it. I wonder if it would be better to be proactive about it? If a PT can give her home exercises that would be great!

I'll talk to her coach when we return next week and then call the ped and make sure we are all on the same page. Thanks again for your input.
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
My DD's elbows do this, not sure about the rest of her joints. Maybe that is why she hurt her wrist though ! When she is in front support on bars - it looks icky. They are very noticible in the picture of her in the photo gallery in her L3 leotard.

We have not gotten any special things to do.
 

Mom2GymMonkey

New Member
Dec 29, 2008
49
My DD's elbows do this, not sure about the rest of her joints. Maybe that is why she hurt her wrist though ! When she is in front support on bars - it looks icky. They are very noticible in the picture of her in the photo gallery in her L3 leotard.

We have not gotten any special things to do.

I looked at your pics. Your DD is very talented. It is hard to believe when I look at all these pics that my DD will be doing these things one day! :eek: Anyway, your DD's elbows look very much like my DD. Her elbows are very noticeable but I didn't notice her other joints until her ped started having her bend in all kinds of weird ways!
 

gymmomntc2e6

Moderator/Proud Parent
Aug 25, 2007
2,842
North Carolina
I looked at your pics. Your DD is very talented. It is hard to believe when I look at all these pics that my DD will be doing these things one day! :eek: Anyway, your DD's elbows look very much like my DD. Her elbows are very noticeable but I didn't notice her other joints until her ped started having her bend in all kinds of weird ways!

guess maybe we will bring this up w/ the ped next time we go !! had not really thought about it.
 
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BlairBob

Guest
Doing strength in those joints will help.

She shouldn't be doing a floor pushup unless she can do one slightly elevated. Full ROM. It should all be progressive. Working poor pushups continually will just lead to problems and not progressing or progressing too slowly.

Too many coaches just work pushups from day 1 with lil ones or weak ones on the floor and hope they get better over time. Would I do the same with barbell training or working a strength hold/position? Especially since they will more than likely never learn it correctly.
 

Mom2GymMonkey

New Member
Dec 29, 2008
49
I am not sure what you mean by doing pushups with full ROM and slight elevation? SHe actually can do pushups quite well and has good form (does them properly) but her ped had her do them and said because her elbows flex so much, he was worry about her hyperextending them, so he told her to do them from her knees with her legs crossed- what he called "girl pushups." Is this a bad thing?

Here is a link to a pic of what her arms look like: Gym picture

Also, her shoulders rotate 360 degrees. She also is very flexible at the waist (she can touch the floor with her palms without bending her knees) and her knees bow backwards, like a swimmer on the starting block, when she bends forward.

I appreciate everyone's advice- I am definitely learning a LOT from you guys!
 
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