By Min Chew
Have you been told that you are double-jointed? Are able to both amaze and terrify your friends with strange body contortions? Do you feel like you have loose joints and often sprain your joints with the most minor incident (e.g. rolling your ankle while walking down the road to the shops), but put that down to just being clumsy? Have you got very soft, fragile skin and find yourself getting cuts or bruises easily? If this sounds like you, you may be hypermobile.
Hypermobility is an umbrella term used to describe a condition where connective tissue in the body is able to move into ranges that are further than normal. Hypermobility can affect any part of the body made of connective tissue but it is common for people to have joint hypermobility. This means their joints can move beyond ‘normal’ range and frequently sublux (incomplete or partial dislocation) or dislocate. Hypermobility can be asymptomatic but many people experience chronic pain and restricted function in day to day activities due to hypermobility.
The 2 common types of hypermobility are Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder (HSD) and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). These 2 conditions have to be differentiated and a healthcare practitioner specialising in hypermobility disorders. There are set tests and criteria for these conditions and your specialist can carry them out in the clinic to help with diagnosis. Some hypermobility conditions such as EDS (certain subsets) are linked to genetics and patients can be sent for genetic testing. Both of these conditions can also affect other parts of the body system such as the gastrointestinal system, neurological system, cardiovascular system and therefore should be managed by specialists familiar with hypermobility.
Our senior physiotherapist Min has special interest in hypermobility and is planning to do further studies and research into the area. She sees a number of clients who are hypermobile and is enjoying forming great partnerships with her clients, teaching them about their condition, how to manage their symptoms and helping them achieve life goals while living with hypermobility. She will be posting more about HSD and EDS in the coming months, so keep a look out for her posts and if you have any specific questions about hypermobility, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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