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Does Being Hypermobile Change How You Heal?

I had to stop physical therapy for a chronic subluxing knee after suffering a second-degree leg burn from spilling hot cooking oil. I've been to the doctor, used antibiotic cream, and washed and bandaged the burned area daily based on his directions. But it's taking forever to heal! I don't understand why my body won't respond.

—Burn Victim, San Diego, CA

Everyone heals differently, even with the same wound. Given the serious nature of your injury, I recommend seeking specialized treatment from a burn center where you will receive expert guidance. You may have a strike against you because of your body type. A joint that frequently subluxes, or slips out of its socket, is one sign of hypermobility. If you meet the criteria for this inherited collagen disorder, you are at risk for delayed wound healing, and the burn specialists will need to be extra vigilant to get a good result. (I suggest seeing a dance medicine orthopedist for a diagnosis, as they are more tuned-in to the prevalence of hypermobility in performers.) Be aware that scars on hypermobile dancers also may be thin and overstretched after a burn, but that's purely a cosmetic issue once it heals.

Send your questions to Dr. Linda Hamilton at

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