What is hypermobility?
Hypermobility is not a disease; it is a condition that allows you to overstretch your joints, thereby causing problems.
Many people who have hypermobility also have low blood pressure
It was researched for the first time in 1967 by Kirk JH and Cols.
A normal joint:
A joint is where two bones meet and the bone ends are covered with cartilage that is thickest in the middle. Around the joint, there are ligaments and muscles to hold the joint in place.
The hypermobile joints:
In the hypermobile joints the ligaments are too loose, and therefore cannot hold the joint in place. That causes the joint to overstretch and put the load where the cartilage is not as thick. It can cause pain and risk of osteoarthritis in later life.
It is believed that 10-30% of the world’s population has hypermobile joints. The condition is hereditary and there are more women than men who have it.
The diagnosis is made by a Beighton score, and to meet the criteria for hypermobility you must have 4 out of 9 points.
Beightons test for hypermobility:
This test is a hypermobile joints test, to check for loose and hyper flexible joints, and you can do it yourself.
If you get at least four points in this test, you are hypermobile.
1) The little finger can be bent back more than 90 degrees (one point for each finger).
2) The thumb can be bent back to touch the forearm (one point for each thumb).
3) Elbow can stretch backwards more than 10 degrees (one point for each arm).
4) Knee can stretch in the opposite direction more than 10 degrees (one point for each knee).
5)You can keep your palms on the floor with straight knees.
There are two types of hypermobility – local hypermobility and general hypermobility.
Local hypermobility is when one or more joints are hypermobile, either due to recurrent sprains or to compensate for the rigidity in a different context. For example, hypermobility can occur around two joints that have grown together in the back, as a compensation for lack of movement in the two joints.
General hypermobility is the one diagnosed by using Beightons test. But it can also be one of several symptoms of an overall condition such as Ehlers Danloss syndrome.
Hypermobility gives an increased risk of:
Genetic problems associated with pregnancy
Subsidence of the arch of the foot (flatfoot)
Osteoarthritis in the 30-40 age group
Training the muscles around the hypermobile joint, so the muscles can take over the job of the ligaments.
Be careful not to overstretch the joint.
Find a form of exercise that does not strain the joints too much.
Take painkillers when necessary
It takes a little while to get used to using the joints in a different way than usual, but practice makes perfect.