Have you been told that you are double-jointed? Are able to both amaze and terrify your friends with strange body contortions? Do you feel like you have loose joints and often sprain your joints with the most minor incident (e.g. rolling your ankle while walking down the road to the shops), but put that down to just being clumsy? Have you got very soft, fragile skin and find yourself getting cuts or bruises easily? If this sounds like you, you may be hypermobile.
Hypermobility or hypermobility syndrome is an umbrella term used to describe a condition where connective tissue in the body is able to move into ranges that are further than normal. Hypermobility can affect any part of the body made of connective tissue but it is common for people to have joint hypermobility. This means their joints can move beyond ‘normal’ range and frequently sublux (incomplete or partial dislocation) or dislocate. Hypermobility can be asymptomatic but many people experience chronic pain and restricted function in day to day activities due to hypermobility.
Symptoms of Hypermobility
Common symptoms can include joint pain, frequent dislocations or subluxations, joint instability, fatigue, muscle weakness, and easy bruising. Individuals with hypermobility may also experience chronic musculoskeletal pain, joint hyperextension, and problems with balance and coordination.
Other associated symptoms may involve gastrointestinal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, and autonomic dysfunction. Management often involves physical therapy, exercise, pain management, and lifestyle modifications to prevent joint damage and improve quality of life. Regular monitoring and collaboration with healthcare professionals is essential for comprehensive care.
2 Types of Hypermobility
The 2 common types of hypermobility are Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD) and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). These 2 conditions have to be differentiated and a healthcare practitioner specialising in hypermobility disorders. There are set tests and criteria for these conditions and your specialist can carry them out in the clinic to help with diagnosis.
Some hypermobility conditions such as Hypermobile ehlers danlos syndrome (certain subsets) are linked to genetics and patients can be sent for genetic testing. Both of these conditions can also affect other parts of the body system such as the gastrointestinal system, neurological system, cardiovascular system and therefore should be managed by specialists familiar with hypermobility.
Treatment for hypermobility syndrome typically focuses on managing symptoms and preventing complications. This can include physical therapy to strengthen muscles and stabilise joints, pain management strategies, assistive devices, lifestyle modifications, and education about joint protection. Individualised treatment plans may also involve medication for pain relief or to address specific symptoms.
Physiotherapy for Hypermobility
We have physiotherapists who have special interest in hypermobility. They see a number of clients who are hypermobile and are enjoying forming great partnerships with them, teaching them about their condition, how to manage their symptoms and helping them achieve life goals while living with hypermobility.
If you’re searching for hypermobility physiotherapy near me, keep a lookout for more posts here in our blog.