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Hypermobility (also called double-jointedness, hypermobility syndrome or hyperlaxity) describes joints that stretch farther than is normal. For example, some hypermobile people can bend their thumbs backwards to their wrists, or bend their knee joints backwards. It can affect a single joint or multiple joints throughout the body.
Hypermobility generally results from one or more of the following:
The condition tends to run in families, suggesting that there may be a genetic basis for at least some forms of hypermobility. The term double jointed is often used to describe hypermobility, however the name is a misnomer and is not to be taken literally, as an individual with hypermobility in a joint does not actually have two separate joints where others would have just the one.
Some people have hypermobility with no other symptoms or medical conditions. However, people with hypermobility syndrome may experience many difficulties. For example, their joints may be easily injured, and they may develop problems from muscle overuse (as muscles must work harder to compensate for the excessive weakness in the ligaments that support the joints).
Hypermobility may also be symptomatic of a serious medical condition, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, Marfan syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, osteogenesis imperfecta, lupus, polio, downs syndrome, morquio syndrome, cleidocranial dysostosis or myotonia congenita.
In addition, hypermobility has been associated with chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia.
Hypermobility syndrome (known by a variety of other names, including Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome) is generally considered to comprise hypermobility together with other symptoms, such as myalgia and arthralgia, and extra-articular features such as skin hyperextensibility and varicose veins. It affects more females than males.
The current diagnostic criteria for hypermobility syndrome are the Brighton criteria, which incorporates the Beighton score. Hypermobility syndrome is considered by many doctors expert in hypermobility (e.g. Professor Rodney Grahame) to be equivalent to the Hypermobile Type of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.
People with hypermobility syndrome may develop other conditions caused by their lax connective tissues. These conditions include
It is important that the individual with hypermobility remain extremely fit - even more so than the average individual - to prevent recurrent injuries. Regular exercise and physical therapy or hydrotherapy can reduce symptoms of hypermobility, because strong muscles help to stabilise joints. These treatments can also help by stretching tight, overused muscles and ensuring that the person can use their full, hypermobile range of motion. Low-impact exercise such as Pilates is usually recommended for hypermobile people as it is less likely to cause injury than high-impact exercise or contact sports.
Moist hot packs can relieve the pain of aching joints and muscles. For some patients, ice packs also help to relieve pain.
Medications frequently used to reduce pain and inflammation caused by hypermobility include analgesics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and tricyclic antidepressants. Some people with hypermobility may benefit from other medications such as steroid injections or gabapentin, a drug originally used for treating epilepsy.
For many people with hypermobility, lifestyle changes decrease the severity of symptoms. For example:
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Hypermobility". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|