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Hypermobility syndrome

Hypermobility syndrome


Rosemary Marchese – Physiotherapist

Hypermobility syndrome is a condition that causes joints to be easily moved beyond normal range for a joint. It tends to be an inherited condition and often results in pain in areas like the knees, fingers, hips and elbows.  It is thought that the genes responsible for the production of collagen, which is a protein that helps make joints more stable, play a role in this syndrome.

Are any diseases considered risk factors for joint hypermobility syndrome?

Sometimes you will see kids that have hypermobility with no other apparent problem. However sometimes more significant medical conditions, such as Down’s Syndrome, present with hypermobile joints too.

What are the signs and symptoms of hypermobility syndrome?

Look for reports of aches and pains in joints. Typically, but not always, this can be the knees, fingers, hips and elbows. Sometimes there is also a higher incidence of dislocation and sprains. There also tends to be a higher rate of scoliosis in people with this condition. Specific things to look for include:

  • Placing the palms of the hands on the floor with knees fully extended
  • Hyperextension of the knee or elbow beyond 10 degrees
  • Touching the forearm with the thumb.

How is it diagnosed?

There are no blood tests. Excluding other serious conditions should occur by your health professional too. However, diagnosis is usually made by simply assessing for the signs and symptoms listed above.

How is it treated?

I recommend that children are monitored and if they report aches and pains that they are addressed. Treatments and plans should be customised to suit the individual. Sometimes not much is required, if anything at all, however it’s important not to overlook the aches and pains. Poor physical fitness and muscle strength can exaggerate the problem by adding more risk of injury to joints. Specific strengthening programs can assist with injury prevention. Sometimes everything improves as the child moves into adulthood too.