Mobility is the degree to which a joint can move before being restricted by surrounding tissues.
Not all the joints taught are considered mobility joints.
The Mobility and Motility Joints Theory
Starting from the big toes joint and moving up the body to the upper cervical joints, we can count one by one a mobility joint alternating with a stability joint.
So this would be like this:
- Big toes – M.
- Metatarsal – S
- Ankle -M
- Knee – S
- Hip – M
- Lumbar -S
- Toracic – M
- Lower Cervical – S
- Upper Cervical – M
- Shoulder – M
- Elbow – S
- Wrist – M
- Tarsal – S
- Fingers – M
The major differences are:
- A Muscular structure surrounds mobility joints
- Stability joints are surrounded by ligaments and tendons
- Mobility joints move in more planes than stable ones.
The stability joints, indeed are essential to the body mechanics to ensure that gravity and force applied to the body by its own weight are well distributed.
First thing first.
Now, if we plan to strengthen our body, like by going to the gym, running or doing any sports activity, ideally we would like to ensure that the mobile joints can deliver the minimum required of ROM.
Well, if the mobility joints are stiff or not mobile enough, the priority of moving would not diminish and the stability joints, are going to do their best to compensate.
But let’s see this with an example.
Mark (name of fantasy) who is an office worker, spends about 40 hours a week at his desk, and to reduce the work and life stress decided to start a routine run 3 to 4 times a week for 1 hour per time.
Mark thinks that to go for a run, you don’t need training and has no clue about the mobility, stability and strengthening chain.
After a few weeks that is enjoying his new routine, Mark start experiencing knee pain.
Mark also didn’t realise that due to the long hours of sitting at the office, his hips joint are tight, and his external rotators, such as the gluteus max and piriformis, are tight.
As per consequence, when Mark stands up, the angle of the gate (AOG), which refers to the rotation of the foot in a standing position, is up to 4 toes per side. (3 toes is the max AOG we expect in the foot).
Now, what happens next is that when Mark goes running, his ankle mobility and hip mobility are visibly restricted.
So, he will lean forward with the upper body, by having tight hips, and strike the floor with the feet externally rotated, so all the body weight will be loaded in the middle of the foot.
As a result, the Stability Joint that sits between the ankle and hip, so the knee, will compensate for the other two joint dysfunctions.
In this case, the knees would take extra pressure medially and stretch out laterally.
So, what should Mark do?!
Well, initially, to stop the pain from happening, stopping running would be a good idea.
Said so, that would not fix the problem.
What Mark should do, is:
- Massage to boost the change within the tight joints and reduce the knee pain
- Start a mobility program to improve the Hip and Ankle functionality
- Exercises that aim to reduce tension in the external rotator reinforce the internal rotator (Gluteus Med and Min)
- Train on how to run
These are the basic steps to implement a model of Mobility, Stability, and Strengthening.
Does this model apply to other sports activities?
Of course, it does.
Visualise your body as a giant mechanical machine made of rope and hinges.
The mechanical result will not be ideal if the hinges are stiff and the ropes are tight.
To improve the result, each component needs to be looked after.
So what message would be the most recommended?
Along with Melbourne Massage and Treatment services, Thai Massage, Remedial Massage, and Myotherapy are soon the most recommended services Giovanni offers to improve the body’s mobility.
Regarding mobility training, Thai Yoga is also an effective way to improve joint mobility, as these exercises focus primarily on improving joint mobility.
What there is to consider is the patient’s presentation, medical history and pre-existent injuries.
If there are no significant concerns, I suggest Thai Massage as the best approach.