Updated: Oct 10, 2021
I have decided to write this blog, as there can be a lot of confusion around as to what hypermobility is, and when it can be a problem.
I have a special interest in this area, and although I am not a specialist, I am continually learning and developing my skills.
If you have any questions related to your particular circumstance, please discuss with your healthcare professional or book a consultation with myself.
1. What is 'hypermobility'?
Hypermobility is where you can move your joints beyond their 'normal' boundaries. You may consider yourself 'double-jointed' or be able to do things that others cannot.
We think of hypermobility as a spectrum, where some people will have quite a lot of hypermobility, and others won't.
The Beighton Score is a scale used sometimes to aid decision making and diagnosis. It is important to remember that it cannot be used as a diagnostic tool, and has very little use in clinical practice. See the recent journal article on its use here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00296-021-04832-4
2. How common is it?
Hypermobile joints are actually quite common. But they do not always suggest a problem and we must not over-medicalise what is normal for some of people. However, it is important that we do pick up on some related syndromes and conditions that can be very disabling for some people.
Most of us will have asymptomatic joint hypermobility (meaning we have no symptoms but we have hypermobile joints). This usually needs no treatment or specialist care.
3. What do you mean by it being a problem?
We know that hypermobile joints and skin can be related to some connective tissue disorders such as Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders and Ehlers Danlos Syndromes, as well as conditions such as Marfan Syndrome and Osteogenesis Imperfecta, among others.
When we recognise signs and symptoms that go above joints just being a little bit bendy, this is where we might consider there to be something that needs to be investigated further.
Symptoms that might suggest one of the above could be:
Persistent, widespread pain
Joint dislocations or subluxations
Issues with scarring and wound healing
Significant dental issues
Autonomic dysfunction (such as dizziness, intolerance to heat)
& many others - the hypermobile joints are just the tip of the iceberg. See the graphic below from https://www.hypermobility.org/hsd-symptoms.
It is important to note: people who are diagnosed with hypermobility spectrum disorders and Ehlers Danlos Syndromes may not always be extremely hypermobile! These conditions are widely complex and still poorly understood.
If, like myself, you have a few or more joints that are quite mobile, but you are otherwise very well and don't have persistent pain in 3 or more body areas, it is highly unlikely to be a connective tissue disorder. If you are unsure, please discuss further with a suitable healthcare professional.
I will update this blog as I go to make it easier to read / add more information.