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Joint Hypermobility

If you have joint hypermobility, this booklet will help you, your family and friends. It explains what joint hypermobility is, what causes it, the usual symptoms, and what can be done to treat it. It also explains how you can help yourself – such as avoiding certain sports which will make your symptoms worse.

Joint hypermobility is not a type of arthritis (it just means that you can move some or all your body joints in a way that most people cannot) and it only affects a small number of people. It can be very mild with few symptoms and not need treatment, or it can be more severe in which case the joints may be easily dislocated. It can also help some people, for example dancers and musicians, who need flexibility in their joints in order to perform.

Very rarely, joint hypermobility is part of a more serious inherited illness. This is discussed at the end of the booklet.

What is joint hypermobility?
If you have joint hypermobility, some or all of your joints will have an unusually large range of movement. You may have known that your joints were very ‘supple’ even from an early age. You may have been ‘double-jointed’, or able to twist your limbs into unusual positions. Athletes sometimes train to achieve what they call ‘flexibility’. Some doctors call it ‘joint hyperlaxity’.

Women are often more supple than men of the same age, and certain racial groups are more supple than others. In general, we become less supple as we get older, but there are always exceptions.

Joint hyper-mobility is an advantage in certain sports such as swimming, gymnastics, tennis, golf and dancing.
© OrthopaedicsOpinionOnline 2011
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