What is Hypermobility?

This month, Lesley Wyles from Bristol Physiotherapy Sports and Injury Clinic provides us with information about Hypermobility.

What is Hypermobility?

Hypermobility refers to an increased range of motion in joints beyond what is considered typical for a person’s age and gender. It is often used to describe a condition called hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD) or hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS), which is a group of inherited disorders affecting connective tissues.

The ligaments and tissues surrounding the joints are more lax and elastic than usual which allows the joints to move beyond their normal range, leading to increased flexibility and sometimes instability. Hypermobility can affect various joints in the body, such as the fingers, wrists, elbows, shoulders, hips, knees, and ankles.

Hypermobility can present differently in different people. Some people with hypermobility may experience few or no symptoms, while others may develop joint pain, chronic fatigue, recurrent dislocations, or subluxations (partial dislocations), soft tissue injuries, and muscle weakness. Other associated symptoms may include joint clicking or popping, double-jointedness, easy bruising, and skin that is soft, stretchy, or prone to scarring.

When hypermobility is accompanied by symptoms which impact on your quality of life, physiotherapy can make a real difference.

How can Physiotherapy help you?

Strengthening Exercises: Create exercise programs tailored to your needs, focusing on strengthening the muscles around the affected joints. Stronger muscles help provide better support and stability to the joints, reducing the risk of dislocations or subluxations.

Joint Stabilization Techniques: Specific techniques to improve your joint stability which may involve exercises targeting proprioception (awareness of joint position), balance training, and neuromuscular re-education. These techniques help you develop better control over your joint movements which should reduce the risk of injury.

Range of Motion Exercises: Although hypermobility involves excessive joint movement, you may still have areas of restricted movement or muscle tightness. Strengthening exercises can be used to improve your flexibility and maintain optimal joint range of motion. Care will be taken to avoid overstretching or exacerbating instability.

Pain Management Techniques can help you cope with discomfort which may include manual therapy techniques such as joint mobilization, soft tissue manipulation, or modalities like heat or cold therapy to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.

Postural and Movement Correction: Poor posture and inefficient movement patterns can contribute to joint instability and pain. Our specialist physiotherapist can assess and address postural imbalances, gait abnormalities, and faulty movement patterns through postural re-education and corrective exercises. Helping you to understand the potential risks, advice on proper joint alignment and body mechanics and provide advice on lifestyle modifications, ergonomics and strategies to prevent joint injuries.

If you would like to see Lesley for a Hypermobility Assessment you can book an Initial Assessment with Lesley. The Initial Assessment is one hour and the follow-up appointments are 30 minutes.