Hypermobility is when there is increased flexibility in the joint, specifically the connective tissue. This results in the joint being able to move more than normal. Babies and children who are hypermobile are often described as being ‘double jointed’, ‘flexible’ or ‘bendy’. There are different types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Hypermobility is one of the most common types. Being hypermobile can be an advantage and is often seen in tops sports people, e.g. cricketers, swimmers. However sometimes it can cause pain due to over stretching of surrounding structures, muscle fatigue pain or from joint subluxation or dislocation.
What are the effects of Hypermobility?
- ‘growing pains’ may be experienced more than in other children especially around the knees and in the hands
- Hypermobile babies may have delayed development, often they are ‘bottom shufflers’ or take longer to learn to walk independently
- Reduced coordination and balance challenges due to the increased strength required to support the hypermobile joint
- School children may find sitting still for long periods tiring and prefer to “W” sit on the floor than sit in a chair
How can physiotherapy help?
Hypermobile children benefit greatly from physiotherapy input to teach both the child and parent: specific strengthening exercises, provide education and advice on optimal positioning.