Each Friday during lockdown, we will be having a question and answer forum. However, because it is VE Celebration Day on Friday, we are moving it to today as we too would like to celebrate VE Day. Our question this week is riding a bike with hypermobility:
“Hi, I would like some help or ideas of what might help my six year old learn to ride her bike she has hypermobility and struggles to peddle a bike forwards she can balance on her bike for short periods of time with no peddles on. My little girl really wants to learn and tries lots have you any ideas of how I can help her learn“
In reply to your question, I am assuming that your daughter is using stabilisers when riding her bike at the current time. I also would wonder whether her inability to peddle the bike forward is due to underlying problems with her motor planning rather than caused by her hypermobility, but hopefully this will help her.
Firstly, I would ensure the height of the seat and the pedals are appropriate for her and when her legs straighten her knees do not lock in hyperextension.
Before going on the bike, I would do a couple of things:
Get her to do some pushing action with her feet and legs this could be into a firm cushion or gym ball when sitting on a chair or lying on her back. I would encourage her to do a right and left action to promote the action needed to pedal but do it slowly and hold the push.
Next get her to lie down on her back and hold her feet getting her to push you’re your hands whilst doing the rotation movement and cycle action that she would use when pushing down and peddling. You can assist to help her learn the action but make sure her feet are going forward in the correct direction. This will help her proprioceptive system (muscle memory) register and then learn the movement, to transfer this onto the bike. Note; If you also offer some resistance it will really help but not too much to tire her legs!
Use two small weighted cuffs which can be purchased from many shops such as Tesco’s, Argos – 250 g would probably be more appropriate for her and put these onto her ankles. Sit her on the bike and you move the bike. Can she try to push down onto the pedals whilst you’re doing this?. It may help to almost strap her feet to the pedals with elastic band just to hold them in place so all she has to think about is actually peddling.
As you move along a flat surface can she start taking over the action and keep the momentum going of the bike?
After approximately 5-10 minutes remove the weighted cuffs or she will get too tired
Each day use the same stretch of path and try to get her to keep the action going for a longer period using visual cues in the environment to see her progress
Best of luck!!
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