Last century, Harry Houdini astonished his audiences with many death defying feats of escape artistry. You’ve likely seen them. He escaped from jail cells, milk canisters, and the water torture cell (which did not call him as erroneous reports claim). One of the most famous escapes that you can see modern performers do is that of escaping from the binding of a straitjacket. People allege that Houdini would dislocate his shoulder to facilitate this particular escape. In fact, people referred to Houdini as “double-jointed” and as such, he had an easy time performing those feats of artistry.
Today, it’s common knowledge that having “double joints” doesn’t exist. No, it’s actually something called hyper mobility. When you think of people who compete in bodybuilding or powerlifting, you might think of immobility. But there do exist populations who are hypermobile. So what is hypermobility? In short, it’s when a joint exceeds its normal range of motion. If you ever see someone whose elbows or knees appear to bend backward a little bit, you are witnessing hypermobility. To add to that, there are tests to determine hypermobility. One of the more popular tests is the Beighton Hypermobility Test. It’s a nine point test and anything scoring four or more qualifies you as having benign hypermobility. That particular test is as follows:
- One point for each thumb you can bend back to touch your forearm
- One point for each pinkie finger that can extend beyond 90 degrees
- One point for each elbow that extends ten degrees or more
- One point for each knee that extends ten degrees or more
- And last, if you can lock your knees and touch the ground with your palms when you lean over, you get a point
In addition to the Beighton test, there is another set of criteria known as the Brighton Test. That’s not a typo, there is a one letter difference in the name. The Brighton test consists of a few more details than the Beighton Test. The first part of the Brighton Criteria lists that you have to have a score of 4 or more on the Beighton Test. In addition to that we have:
- Joint pain in three or more joints for a long period of time
- Subluxations and dislocations are common
- Drooping eyelids
- Varicose Veins
And there’s even more listed you can find in the references at the end. In addition to that, there are some distinctions. Some people can be hypermobile and not have any adverse effects because of it. Most often, this often referred to as Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS). Other instances of hypermobility can refer to structural defects, pain, skin conditions, and so forth. Most of the time, professionals refer to the latter as Ehler-Danlos Syndrom (EDS). Not only that, there is no genetic test to determine either of them, so sometimes people will interchange the terms. And the treatments are all focused on prevention and not curing either condition. In some instances of repeated dislocations, surgery is also an option.
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