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Understanding Hypermobility: A Comprehensive Guide to Symptoms and Physiotherapy Treatment

Hypermobility is a condition characterised by an excessive range of motion in one or more joints. While flexibility is generally considered a positive trait, hypermobility can lead to various health issues and discomfort. As a physiotherapist, it is crucial to recognise the symptoms and implement effective treatment strategies to improve the quality of life for individuals with this condition.

Symptoms of Hypermobility

  • Joint Instability: One of the primary indicators of hypermobility is joint instability. The ligaments supporting the joints may be too lax, leading to a higher risk of dislocations or subluxations.
  • Chronic Pain: Individuals with hypermobility often experience chronic pain, particularly in the joints. This pain can be exacerbated by physical activity or prolonged periods of sitting or standing.
  • Fatigue: Hypermobility can contribute to muscle fatigue as the body works harder to stabilise joints during movement. This increased effort can lead to quicker exhaustion during physical activities.
  • Poor Posture: Hypermobility may result in poor posture due to joint instability. This can lead to muscle imbalances, further exacerbating pain and discomfort.
  • Soft Tissue Injuries: Hypermobility can make individuals more susceptible to soft tissue injuries, such as sprains and strains, due to the increased stress on joints and surrounding structures.

Conditions related to Hypermobility

  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS): EDS is a group of genetic connective tissue disorders characterised by joint hypermobility, skin hyperextensibility, and tissue fragility. There are different subtypes of EDS, each with its own set of features.
  • Marfan Syndrome: Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue, leading to tall stature, long limbs, and joint hypermobility. It can also affect the eyes, heart, and other organs.
  • Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS): JHS is a condition characterised by excessive joint mobility and chronic musculoskeletal pain. It is often considered a milder form of EDS, and the symptoms primarily involve joints and soft tissues.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA): While not everyone with rheumatoid arthritis experiences hypermobility, it can be associated with certain forms of arthritis, including RA.
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI): OI is a genetic disorder characterised by fragile bones that break easily. In some cases, individuals with OI may also exhibit joint hypermobility.
  • Lupus (Systemic Lupus Erythematosus): Lupus is an autoimmune disease that can affect joints, skin, kidneys, and other organs. Joint hypermobility may be present in some individuals with lupus.
  • Down Syndrome: Individuals with Down syndrome may have joint laxity and increased flexibility, contributing to a degree of hypermobility.
  • Hypothyroidism: Some individuals with hypothyroidism may experience joint pain and laxity, contributing to excessive mobility.
  • Neurological Disorders: Certain neurological conditions, such as cerebral palsy or certain types of neuropathies, can lead to joint mobility.
  • Benign Joint Hypermobility in Childhood: Some children may have joint hypermobility without an associated medical condition. In these cases, it may improve with age as the child’s musculoskeletal system matures.

It’s important to note that hypermobility can vary in severity, and its presence does not necessarily indicate an underlying medical condition. Individuals experiencing joint hypermobility or related symptoms should consult with a healthcare professional for a thorough evaluation and proper diagnosis.

Physiotherapy Treatment

  • Strengthening Exercises: Physiotherapists play a crucial role in designing tailored exercise programs to strengthen the muscles around hypermobile joints. This helps improve joint stability and reduce the risk of injuries.
  • Joint Stabilisation Techniques: Specific exercises focusing on proprioception and joint stability can be employed to enhance the body’s awareness of joint positioning, reducing the likelihood of subluxations or dislocations.
  • Postural Correction: Physiotherapists work with individuals to address poor posture and muscle imbalances. This may involve targeted exercises to strengthen weakened muscles and improve overall body alignment.
  • Pain Management Strategies: Physiotherapy includes various pain management techniques, such as manual therapy, massage, and modalities like heat or ice therapy, to alleviate discomfort associated.
  • Education and Lifestyle Modification: Physiotherapists educate patients about their condition and provide guidance on lifestyle modifications to manage symptoms effectively. This may include ergonomic adjustments, proper body mechanics, and advice on suitable physical activities.
  • Custom Orthotics and Bracing: In some cases, physiotherapists may recommend custom orthotics or braces to provide additional support to hypermobile joints, reducing strain and enhancing stability.

Assessment techniques include the Beighton scoring system which an example can be found on The Ehlers Danlos Society.

As a physiotherapist, understanding hypermobility and its associated symptoms is essential for providing effective care. By implementing targeted treatment plans, including strengthening exercises, joint stabilisation techniques, and pain management strategies, physiotherapists can empower individuals to manage their condition and improve their overall well-being. Collaborative efforts between physiotherapists and patients are key to achieving long-term success in managing hypermobility and enhancing the quality of life for those affected.

Book in to see how our physiotherapists at Bounty Physio can help you.

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Please proceed to our Contact page, provide your details in the enquiry form, and our team will promptly get in touch. Or, you may also schedule an appointment right away on our Booking page.

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Book Now

Please proceed to our Contact page, provide your details in the enquiry form, and our team will promptly get in touch. Or, you may also schedule an appointment right away on our Booking page.

Enquire NowMake A Booking

Why Choose Us?
We do not simply treat pain, but aim to focus on the whole individual to achieve their optimum mobility, health and overall wellness.