Musicians' Health Collective

Musicians' Health Collective: Supporting the health of musicians (and normal people)

One Last Hypermobility Chat: The Knees

Picture is referenced in KatySays.com, amongst many other blogs as well.  Can you see the woman's knee position on the right?

Picture is referenced in KatySays.com, amongst many other blogs as well.  Can you see the woman's knee position on the right?

In my first post, I talked about what hypermobility is, and in my second post, how it relates to music, fingers, etc.  However, your mobile knees (or your student's) also affect your posture, your standing, and your spine.  If you're a regular reader, you may remember a series of posts about standing, stance, high heels, etc., and hypermobile knees are a part of that equation. 

Let's take a look at this picture, which is from a few months back when I initially wrote about heels and standing.  Can you see how the woman on the right has hyperextended her knees and thus forced her spine into an excessive curvature?  She's basically exaggerating the curves of her spine and forcing her head forward.  You don't have to be wearing heels to have this phenomena though, take a look here.

So this gender neutral character has slightly hyperextended knees, which then forces an exaggerated curve of the spine, and the belly is forward.  This can be in combination with soft tissue issues as we see on the right, but hyperextending the knees is definitely part of the problem here.

So this gender neutral character has slightly hyperextended knees, which then forces an exaggerated curve of the spine, and the belly is forward.  This can be in combination with soft tissue issues as we see on the right, but hyperextending the knees is definitely part of the problem here.

So what's the solution?  For me, (I have one hypermobile knee) it comes down to a few steps.

1.  Bring the feet parallel (or very close to parallel) when standing, walking, etc.  When the feet turn out a lot, it makes it easier to tuck the pelvis and hyperextend the knees.

2. Slightly bend the knees to try to find a non-hyperextended position.

3.  Bring the pelvis to neutral, either un-tucking your pelvis or the opposite, lengthening your tailbone down if you have an anterior tilt.  The second image is of someone with an over-tucked pelvis or posterior tilt.

4.  When standing, try to externally rotate your thighs (but don't actually move your legs at all) and feel your glutes turn on.  This basically means that your right thigh wants to rotate clockwise and your left thigh wants to rotate counterclockwise, but you don't move your legs at all. 

If you teach children (who often hyperextend their knees unknowingly), suggest that they slightly bend their knees and bring their feet to parallel.  The more subtle cues may not work for them right away, but helping their lower body find neutral is definitely a start.

***A Cautionary note:  If you regularly practice yoga or any form of stretching, please DON'T hyperextend your knees in that practice.  Watch out in forward folds, triangle, warrior II, etc.  It's not great for your knees and not great for your spine.***



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