Hypermobility- something that occurs when one (or more) joints stretch beyond their normal range. Many people with hypermobile joints don’t have any problems and often require no treatment. Some, for example, ballet dancers and gymnasts, may benefit from this increased flexibility.
Hypermobility syndrome, also known as joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS), describes a syndrome where multiple joints can easily stretch beyond their normal range. It tends to be accompanied by a range of different symptoms.
These include pain and stiffness in the joints and muscles, clicking joints and joints that dislocate easily. It can also lead to fatigue, recurrent injuries such as sprains; Digestive problems, such as constipation and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS); Dizziness and fainting; Thin or stretchy skin.
The joints most commonly affected are the knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers. While either can be due to several causes, they are both genetic and due to changes in collagen (a ubiquitous protein found in the body).
These changes make the collagen weaker, which in turn makes the ligaments (connective tissue that links two bones together at joints) in the body looser and stretchier.
There are some diseases that can cause joint hypermobility syndrome and the most important of these causes are Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, Marfan’s Syndrome and Osteogenesis imperfecta. Thankfully, these diseases are quite rare.
Causes and Treatments
Irrespective of the cause there are four factors that contribute to joint hypermobility. These are:
- The structure of your collagen – this is key in all cases
- The shape of the ends of your bones – affects how the bone ‘interact’ with each other at joints.
- Muscle tone – particularly in some children
- Your sense of your joint movements (proprioception)
In addition to the symptoms they experience, those with JHS are at increased risk of injuries such as sprains, dislocations, difficulties in pregnancy and any others that can result from the underlying cause.
Managing JHS can be complex and involve several professionals, such as doctors and physical therapists, to keep you fit and prevent injuries. It also involves treating any short-term injuries, while having a long-term programme to manage symptoms and prevent injuries.
We hope this information was useful for you. If you have any questions about it or about our treatments, please contact us. We are only a 3 minute walk away from Angel Station. We are always happy to help.