Ligament Laxity and Riding
Ligament laxity is a medical term for loose ligaments, which can lead to loose joints that are hypermobile or more mobile than usual. While it doesn't always cause problems, ligament laxities can sometimes cause pain and can increase your risk of injuries, such as dislocated joints, muscle strains, sprains and arthritis among others.
Those with hypermobility also have reduced levels of proprioception (the body’s ability to sense joint movement and position). This can predispose you to poor balance and falls (Not always ideal when we are racing around high above ground on an unpredictable, 1200lb animal that spooks at his own shadow).
Ligament laxity tends to cause more issues with age or in those who do not engage in regular muscle strengthening.
How does this effect your riding you should ask?
Well a good example would be our SI joints and hips. These large joints play a very important role in our ability to stay balanced on board our equine partners. The smallest shift in weight can also expose our horses to injury.
Just because you are not able put your legs behind your head like Flexible Francine in your Hot Yoga class or cannot touch your toes does not mean you could be a possible candidate for ligament laxities.
Being hypermobile doesn’t have to mean a lifetime of injury. It doesn’t mean you can’t ride!! (PHEWF) it just means you probably want to work a little bit more on strength, control and proprioception.
It’s also important to note that being hypermobile doesn’t mean you shouldn’t stretch, or need to cancel that massage session with your favourite RMT . A hypermobile person can still get stiff muscles like anyone else, it just means you should be a little more aware and come see us more often ;)