Hypermobility means that you can move some or all of your joints in a way that most people cannot, without pain. Joint hypermobility is what some people refer to as having “loose joints” or being “double-jointed”. The joints most commonly affected are the knees, shoulders, elbows, wrists, and fingers.
Many people with hypermobility do not experience any problems. In fact, people such as dancers, gymnasts and musicians can actually benefit from the increased flexibility. However, there are times that you should seek medical advice and treatment for hypermobility.
People should seek treatment if they experience:
- Pain in the loose joint during or after movement
- Sudden changes in the appearance of the joint
- Changes in mobility, specifically in the joints
- Changes in the functioning of your arms and legs
Often additional symptoms are minimal and may only become apparent after minor trauma.
In addition to genetic factors, hypermobility can be caused by weak muscles supporting the joint.
Other causes of hypermobile joints can include trauma, developmental issues, and hormonal factors.
During pregnancy the female body increases production of the hormone oestrogen and produces the hormone relaxin. The function of these hormones is to increase ligament laxity enabling the female pelvis to accommodate the growing foetus and helps to open the birth canal during labour. It can also cause hypermobility of the lumbar spine and of the sacroiliac joints of the pelvis.
Treatment for hypermobility syndrome can include strengthening exercises that will stabilise the joint. It is also useful for people to develop an awareness of what the normal range of motion is for each joint in order to avoid hyperextension. However, those with related medical conditions or who are pregnant should seek the advice of their chiropractor to establish a safe exercise plan.