Hypermobility means a person’s joints move beyond a normal range of motion. Children who have hypermobility disorder might experience it in one or more joints, and might say they have “loose joints” or describe themselves as “double jointed.”
Some children show symptoms of hypermobility in four or more joints, and might experience pain as a result. This condition is called benign joint hypermobility syndrome, or simply joint hypermobility syndrome.
Joint hypermobility is usually hereditary, and occurs more frequently in children than in adults. Between 10 and 15 percent of children have joint hypermobility. Females and people who have Asian backgrounds are more likely to have the condition.
Our genes produce a protein that supports healthy functioning of connective tissues such as joints, tendons and ligaments. Known in medical terms as “collagen,” this protein determines our natural flexibility.
In rare cases, hypermobility in children is related to inherited disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Marfan syndrome that cause abnormalities in connective tissues.
Some common symptoms experienced by children who have joint hypermobility include:
Specialists often discover hypermobility when a child comes in for another condition, such as:
Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare specialists use the Beighton scale to determine if your child has joint hypermobility. The scale consists of the following hypermobility tests, each worth one point. If your child scores four or higher on the scale, they probably have joint hypermobility.
You’ll get a hypermobility treatment plan customized for your child when you work with specialists at Gillette. If there are few symptoms, treatment might not be necessary. With more severe symptoms, however, our experts might recommend treatments that include steps to help:
Here are a few of the treatment types specialists at Gillette might recommend for your child.
Specialists in physical therapy and occupational therapy might evaluate your child’s gross motor skills. We will also educate patients and families on joint protection, such as avoiding extreme range of motion and stretching safely. Your child’s treatment might include:
Treatment for hypermobility starts with fitness and a healthy lifestyle. In special cases, however, kids who have moderate pain might benefit from pain relievers such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.
If your child has hypermobility, our multidisciplinary team of specialists will create a treatment plan specifically designed to meet their unique needs. Gillette experts also offer support for related issues, such as physical growth and joint pain.
Your child might meet with internationally recognized specialists in:
At Gillette, you’ll have a family-centered team that works closely with your primary care providers, teachers, and school or community therapists.