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March 2024

Joint hypermobility means that the joint can move in ranges beyond what is considered typical and healthy. It's colloquially referred to as being 'double jointed', and for most people, doesn't cause them any day-to-day concerns. For some children however (esp children with autism and low muscle tone) joint hypermobility can be cause for concern.

The cause for hypermobile joints is often having loose/floppy connective tissue in joints. This laxity means that if a hypermobile joint is pushed to its end of range, it won't have the support from surrounding connective tissue to maintain this position. The joint is likely to continue moving until it reaches its end of range (which is often bone on bone). For this reason, children with hypermobility are less likely to experience minor injuries such as sprained ankles, but they're more likely to suffer serious injuries such as fractures and dislocations. 

It's also important to remember that children with hypermobility often have fine and gross motor delays. This is because there is less proprioceptive feedback messages from joints going to the brain. These children often have difficulties with activities like handwriting, using cutlery, getting dressed, learning how to walk and run, and playing ball games with their friends. 

Children with hypermobility have connective tissue issues which can also be seen in other parts of the body (such as in the cardiorespiratory and digestive systems). So we also make sure to screen for other concerns too! 

If you're not sure what hypermobility looks like, here's the diagnostic test that we use:

Although hypermobility is a permanent diagnosis, physiotherapy is the gold-standard method of treatment! Physiotherapy has been proven to reduce both chronic pain, and the risk of serious injury. Through personalised motor control, proprioception and strength training, physiotherapy can massively reduce the impact hypermobility can have on a child!

Mitch Rawson
23rd March, 2024 

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