What are hypermobile
If you have hypermobile joints, you’re able to extend them
easily and painlessly beyond the normal range of motion. Hypermobility of the
joints occurs when the tissues holding a joint together, mainly ligaments, are
too loose. Often, weak muscles around the joint also contribute to
The joints most commonly affected are the:
Hypermobility is a common condition, especially in children,
since their connective tissues aren’t completely developed. A child with
hypermobile joints may lose the ability to hyperextend as they age.
Having joint hypermobility may also be called:
- having joint laxity, or
- being double-jointed
- having loose joints
- having hypermobility syndrome
causes of hypermobile joints
Most commonly, hypermobile joints appear without any
underlying health conditions. This is called benign hypermobility syndrome
since the only symptom is hypermobile joints. It can be caused by:
- bone shape or the depth of
the joint sockets
- muscle tone or strength
- a poor sense of
proprioception, which is the ability to sense how far you’re stretching
- a family history of hypermobility
Some people with hypermobile joints also develop stiffness
or pain in their joints. This is called joint hypermobility syndrome.
In rare cases, hypermobile joints occur due to an underlying
medical condition. Conditions that could potentially cause hypermobility
- Down syndrome, which is a
- cleidocranial dysostosis, which
is an inherited bone development disorder
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, which
is an inherited syndrome affecting elasticity
- Marfan syndrome, which is a
connective tissue disorder
- Morquio syndrome, which is an
inherited disorder that affects metabolism
to seek treatment for hypermobile joints
Usually, people with hypermobile joints don’t have other
symptoms, so they don’t need treatment for their condition.
However, you should see a doctor if you have:
- pain in the loose joint during or after movement
- sudden changes in the appearance of the joint
- changes in mobility, specifically in the joints
- changes in the functioning of your arms and legs
symptoms of hypermobile joints
If you have joint hypermobility syndrome, treatment will
focus on relieving pain and strengthening the joint. Your doctor may suggest
you use prescription or over-the-counter pain relievers, creams, or sprays for
your joint pain. They may also recommend certain exercises or physical therapy.
What is the outlook for hypermobile joints?
Hypermobility is often the result of weak joints. If you
have this condition, you’re more likely to dislocate or injure your joints
through sprains of strains.
You can try the following to decrease your risk of
- Do exercises to strengthen
the muscles around the joint.
- Learn what normal range of motion
is for each joint to avoid hyperextension.
- Protect your joints during
physical activity by using padding or braces.