In her first “Playing Less Injured” tip, Janet Horvath explains that musicians with joint laxity (or “double-jointedness”) are much more prone to injuries while playing than those of us without this condition. Read on to learn how to lessen the possibilities of injury, if you have this condition.
If you are, take care! Musculoskeletal injuries are frequent in musicians with joint laxity (also referred to as double-jointedness, or hypermobility). Many music teachers find when starting these youngsters that they are very flexible and therefore good candidates for instrumental playing.
Studies show that injury risk is higher in musicians with laxity. This may be due to the fact that the instrumentalist must use more finger pressure to stabilize and “brace” the joint to prevent it from collapsing. Over time this extra squeezing can result in additional wear and tear on joints, more long-term and extensive hyperlaxity, and pain that can become chronic.
If you have hypermobile joints, it is of the utmost importance to use prevention, avoiding more long-term extensive hyperlaxity and injury to the joints. Consult a qualified physical therapist to learn careful joint-protection techniques, and for guidance on strengthening hyperlax joints safely and for activities of daily living.
Splints improve hand function by stabilizing and aligning joints, decreasing pain, and allowing rest. Many thumb and ring splints are available that prevent the buckling of finger joints; they can be used both for practice and performance. These are medical devices, available via prescription only, and must be custom fit by your physical therapist. Ring splints are available in either plastic, in skin tones, or in silver, which even look stylish!
From Janet Horvath’s
Playing (less) Hurt – An Injury Prevention Guide for Musicians
www.playinglesshurt.com ©2006, Janet Horvath”