Hypermobility is far more prevalent in dancers, circus performers and other aesthetic athletes. While some hypermobile artistic athletes have asymptomatic joint hypermobility, others have symptoms due to an underlying hypermobility or connective tissue disorder.
How can a physical therapist or physician assess the bendy artist, beyond tools like the Beighton Score, and see what the artist might need by way of support?
Aiko Callahan and Stephanie Greenspan, both DPTs who work a lot with dancers, circus artists and other bendy bodies, wondered this same thing. They worked with Annie Squires, DPT to publish “Management of Hypermobility in Aesthetic Performing Artists: A Review” and create a fabulous new hypermobility assessment tool.
The two physical therapists talk through their process and how they assess new patients. They reveal screening questions to ask hypermobile artists to best understand the artist’s needs. Some areas include performer identity, scheduling issues, and self-management.
The two lay out the guidelines they’ve put together for a physical exam and tests they use to screen for joint stability. They discuss the importance of a team approach for the hypermobile artist, and ways to help the artist grow their own support team.
Finally, Aiko and Stephanie share their Hypermobile Screening Tool used to assess the presence of other systemic issues often seen in those with hypermobility. A self-reporting screening tool, this questionnaire is designed to efficiently gather information to aid the medical professional to determine what next steps might be most appropriate.
A tool that could be used by medical professionals, trainers looking to help their clients find support, or even hypermobile individuals looking for ways to communicate their issues more clearly, the screening tool is an important step forward in streamlining care for people with hypermobility disorders.
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