What really happens when we lock our joints?


by Jeannie Di Bon, August 22nd, 2022

What really happens when we lock our joints?

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes What happens when we lock our Hypermobile Joints? As someone who always stood with locked knees and picked things up with hyperextended elbows, changing this pattern was really important for my joint health.

Why do we lock our joints? Subconsciously we think it’s a form of stability. We don’t sense the muscles around the joint working, so we take the easier option of locking out the joint. We find it easy to ‘hang’ into postures. They may actually feel comfortable but what we are not doing in those moments is working the muscle or building alignment and proprioception.

As you probably know, it’s hard to train those stabilising muscles to work and support the joint. The body takes the path of least resistance. I call this ‘false stability’ because we believe it to be stable but in fact it’s very vulnerable.

For example, when we hyperextend the elbows:

1. The muscles around the joint no longer have to work. You hang off the ligament instead.
2. The joint is very vulnerable and open to strain.
3. You turn off your powerhouse of muscles by blocking communication to the torso.
4. The shoulders are placed out of alignment – this could cause neck pain.
5. It makes any weight bearing activity very difficult and unstable.
7. In weight bearing, wrists are compromised as too much weight is now dropping down into the ground
8. Lifting an object with a locked elbow is common, but you risk to hurt both the elbow, wrist and shoulder by doing this.

The same would apply to the knee joint. But when you lock the knee joint, it also changes the position of the pelvis bringing it into an forward tilt. This can cause increased load and strain on the lumbar spine.

These locked joints shouldn’t be looked at in isolation either. Because everything is connected and impacted by the alignment of other bones, the whole body will be impacted.

Please take a look at my Hypermobility YouTube channel where I have a whole series of videos on how we can start to safely move without impacting our joints. I hope you find them useful. Remember to subscribe to get notified of my monthly live classes too.

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