Q: I am almost 23, stand 5'5 1/4" in bare feet, and weigh about 112 lbs.  My  uncorseted measurements are 34, bust 28.5,  underbust 24.5 waist and 37 hip.  I also am hyperflexible, and always have  been.  (Examples: I can bend the second  joint in my finger, I can kiss my  elbows, I can make my arm lay flat over the  back of my shoulder, etc.).   This condition effects every tendon in my body to varying degrees.  I was  told by a doctor that I should stop playing soccer
because I was likely to  permanently injure myself.  I have never broken a  bone, but I've had knee surgery  and sprained my ankles and wrists more times than  I can count.  All this is  background for the real issue, which is my ribs. 
I can push my lower  floating ribs around with my hands, they're very easily deformable.  I can  lace down three or maybe four inches all at once and stay that way for hours  with no discomfort.  I am currently making myself a corset
where I will  lace down at least four inches.  I won't wear this very often (I  don't  think).  I'm worried that I will permanently move my ribs and organs around  more quickly than others might because of my ribs.  When I wear off the 
rack corsets, after wearing for only a few hours when I pop open the busk, my  ribs stay that shape for about five minutes before gradually moving back  into  their normal position.  I've only done this half a dozen times, so it's 
something that happens very easily and quickly with little wearing.  Are  there other potential risks for me that might not apply to others?  Are my  fears grounded?  What would happen if I started tightlacing or even just four-inch
> lacing on a regular basis?  -- Leslie (4/06)

A: Your hyper flexibility may or may not include looseness of your joints. If you have recurring dislocation of your joints I would agree with your hesitation to tightlace, as this could aggravate the situation by further stretching ligaments. However, if your flexibility does not, than the considerations are different: The tightlacing of the ribcage specifically replaces some of the muscle activity with the rigidity that is produced as the corset is becoming tighter. The resistance that the corset encounters is from combined thoracic and abdominal muscle tone, the rib joints, and the ribs themselves. In your case you may experience less rib joint discomfort and as you suggest you get less warning in the case of over tightening. You need to watch two specific points in the absence of the rib discomfort signals:

1. Breathing and digestion: If your breathing feels congested, or if you feel abdominal cramps or discomfort, it is too tight.
2. If you feel lightheaded or a "rush" you have laced too quickly. The reduction you are targeting is modest enough that there should not be any issues, and the warnings I give here have more to do with the general areas to watch in the absence of one of the warning signals.

Lastly, your reduced return spring tension of your ribs and ribjoints is not abnormal for any tightlacing, but it confirms that there is less natural tension in your body. If you are worried about it, I suggest low resistance, high repetition daily exercise of the torso muscle groups, this will increase muscle one, which in turn will strengthen and help maintain tension of the ligaments.


Return to Main Medical Advice Page

Return to LISA's Main Page