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Joint Mobility And Stability

November 10, 2010

By Gerard Bochese

Stretching should be an important component of one’s fitness routine.  There are different types of flexibility protocols that should be done at different times in the workout to achieve varying results.  These include dynamic, active, and static stretching.  Equally important to our fitness routine, especially in the early stages, is joint mobility and stability.

Our body is a stacked pile of joints. The joints alternate between mobility and stability in terms of their biomechanical needs. Let’s start from the bottom:

The ankle needs mobility

The knee needs stability

The hip needs mobility

The lumbar spine needs stability

The thoracic spine needs mobility

The glenohumeral (shoulder joint) needs stability

Since the body is a kinetic chain with all parts working together, we find that each joint has an effect on other joints around it.  Research has shown that if a joint is immobile it tends to affect the joint above it.  If there is a lack of mobility in the ankle joint it can result in knee pain, as the knee compensates its movement patterns due to the stiff ankle as well as the inability of the ankle to absorb shock due to stiffness at the joint.  Lack of mobility in the hips can result in low back (lumbar) pain and lack of mobility in the thoracic spine (middle of the back between the shoulder blades) can result in neck pain.

In next week’s blog we will examine some joint mobility and stability exercises.

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