The first time someone ever told me I was hypermobile, it was my orthopedic surgeon, when I was 19.
I went back to him after he’d more or less fixed the running injury I’d had in my lower legs, compartment syndrome.
I was supposed to be getting better– I was free! This was supposed to be my time to go back to all of my working out, all of the things I’d loved to do.
But it wasn’t working. For some reason, everything hurt. All the exercises that had once been super easy– a challenge, sure, but I’d incrementally increase my weight each week, and marvel at how much my body could do– now I had this mysterious pain.
The thing that confounded me the most was the pain in my elbows, wrists, and hands. Prior to the injury, when I’d been in my top shape working out, I could do a bicep curl with a 10-pound weight. Now it hurt to hold a pencil for too long.
Dr. Steiner paused. A look of concern crossed his face, shadowing it. He took my arm and bent my hand, my wrist, my fingers, in all different directions.
“You’re hypermobile,” he said. “You need to make sure to always keep all your muscles strong, or else you’re going to have a very difficult life.”
He wrote me a prescription for physical therapy– not just for my lower legs, but for overall strength and conditioning.
If I look back, I see now that this could have been my chance.
Now I know that there are specialized treatments, there are physical therapists who specialize in dealing with it– and there are even potentially serious medical conditions to be ruled out.
But I didn’t know any of this, and neither did whatever physical therapist I ended up seeing.
It was a lost opportunity– a brief flicker of the answer on the horizon, only to be covered up again by the clouds of medical ignorance.
I ended up changing insurance to something Dr. Steiner didn’t take, and I never saw him again.
If I look back, that was my chance. Knowing what hypermobility was, sooner, would have dramatically influenced the course of my life.
But that chance was lost.
I knew that I was something called hypermobile. I didn’t really understand it. I actually had no idea it had anything to do with connective tissue– I just thought it had to do with the shape of my joints putting me at a disadvantage.
The answer seemed simple enough– just exercise. Be fit! Stay in shape!
Well, I had once run a 5:21 mile. I’d run a 19:29 5K. How hard could it be?