Does it matter?

By Thom Williamson RMT

Flexibility refers to the passive range of movement at a joint and the tissues that cross it, such as muscles, tendons and ligaments. Mobility is the active range of motion, a combination between flexibility, muscular strength and control. Fundamentally the difference between flexibility and mobility is movement control.

Take this picture of me doing the splits for example. Am I flexible? Yes! But am I mobile? It’s tough to tell from this picture because we don’t know how I got into this position or more importantly how I got out of it. The control portion is critical.

Flexibility alone will not help us avoid injury. We need to train our tissue to be capable of controlling movement and absorbing load in as many varying positions as possible. If you don’t have control through your joint you are opening yourself up to the possibility of injury by overloading the tissue. If you care about long term health of your joints the answer lies more with mobility than flexibility.

In clinical practice I work on patients mobility by firstly assessing range of motions or lack thereof. Then using a combination of Functional Range Release (manual therapy) followed up with Functional Range Conditioning (rehab).

Come in to see me at FIT sport therapy if you find you are having any mobility issues.