When flexibility becomes a liability

Flexibility is a term coined to be one of utmost importance in the Physio world. To be flexible is to be injury free.

But often this isn’t quite the case and in some instances, too much flexibility can lead to big problems.

Hypermobility is an issue in a lot of adolescents (in particular, young girls). The ligamentous laxity allows the joints to often be stretched into positions that they are not meant to be in. This can lead to serious injuries such as ACL ruptures, sprained ankles, and elbow hyperextension injuries.

Some people become so fixed on being flexible for such things as yoga, pilates and sports like gymnastics or dance that they put themselves at risk of creating further injuries.

The body is designed to work within certain planes of motion, however, once we push past these, the stability components of our movements are compromised and herein lies the issues.

Quite often, gymnasts and dancers are putting themselves at risk of further injuring themselves due to the nature of the sports, and the degrees of ideal flexibility that is pressured onto these athletes to have.

So how do we get the best of both worlds? Flexibility without the risk?


This is the component that keeps our limbs and spine in one piece. Stability is designed to work best in close positions with minimal change in ranges.

Once we push past these inherent stable positions and into large degrees of ranges of motion, our injury risk goes up. But stability is trainable.

Build more strength and control around the joints and risk-free range of motion is totally possible.

Written by

Travis Waite

Trav is a Physiotherapist with an Exercise Science background who specialises in shoulder injuries and gym-based rehab. He believes that injury rehab is an opportunity to work on performance and to emerge better than before you were injured.

Travis Waite