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Hypermobility - The Facts

What Is Hypermobility?

Joint hypermobility means that some or all of a person's joints have an unusually large range of movement. Hypermobility syndrome is a condition that features joints that easily move beyond the normal range expected for that particular joint. Hypermobile joints are often an inherited condition. Symptoms of the joint hypermobility syndrome include pain in the knees, fingers, hips, and elbows. Often joint hypermobility causes no symptoms and require no treatment. Hypermobility is a condition that causes joints to move beyond what is considered the normal range expected for a particular joint. The joint hypermobility syndrome is considered a benign condition. It is estimated that 10%-15% of children have hypermobile joints or joints that can move beyond the normal range of motion. Hypermobile joints are sometimes referred to as "loose joints," and those affected are referred to as being "double jointed." Many people with hypermobile joints don't have any problems, and some people – such as ballet dancers, gymnasts and musicians – may actually benefit from the increased flexibility. However, some people with joint hypermobility can have a number of unpleasant symptoms as well, such as:

Hypermobility Symptoms

  • pain and stiffness in the joints and muscles
  • clicking joints
  • joints that dislocate (come out of the correct position) easily
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • recurrent injuries – such as sprains
  • digestive problems – such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • dizziness and fainting
  • thin or stretchy skin
The nature of JHS means that you are at increased risk of injuries, such as dislocations and sprains. Managing the condition may therefore also involve treating short-term injuries as they arise, while following a long-term treatment plan to manage daily symptoms.

What Causes Hypermobility?

Hypermobile joints tend to be hereditary (runs in families). Genetically determined changes to the body’s production of the protein, collagen, a substance found in skin, ligaments and connective tissues that helps to glue tissues together.

Hypermobility Treatment

  • Pain Relievers
  • Strengthening Exercises
  • Physical Therapy

What diseases are risk factors for joint hypermobility syndrome?

Joint hypermobility is also a feature of a rare, inherited, more significant medical condition called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), which is characterized by weakness of the connective tissues of the body. Joint hypermobility is commonly seen in people with Down syndrome and in people with Marfan syndrome.

Hypermobility In Children

Children with hypermobility may be more prone to injuries such as sprains and dislocations. They may also experience back pain and tiredness.

Hypermobility Test

When assessing for hypermobility, the Beighton score may be used to test for the syndrome. This includes a range of tests such as bending your knees and elbows backwards amongst other tests. Assessing for hypermobility can also be done through x-rays and blood tests.