Generalized Hypermobility

When should I be concerned?

Article written by Dr Mona Shabghareh

Basically a hyper mobile joint means a joint that can move easily beyond its normal expected range and having more than two hyper mobile joints is called generalized hyper mobility.
Although having hyper mobile joints is very common especially in young females and it is not usually a big concern, this increased range of movement might also be a sign of a serious disease.
So that is important to know when you should suspect having hyper mobile joints, how to manage it and when you should be concerned about it.
How do I know if I have hyper mobile joints?
There are 5 simple questions which you can use them as a simple screening tool and If you answer yes to two or more than two of these questions, it is very likely that you have hyper-mobile joints.
1. Can you now (or could you ever) place your hands flat on the floor without bending your knees?
2. Can you now (or could you ever) bend your thumb to touch your forearm?
3. As a child did you amuse your friends by contorting your body into strange shapes OR could you do the splits?
4. As a child or teenager did your shoulder or kneecap dislocate on more than one occasion?
5. Do you consider yourself double-jointed?
What should I do if my joints are hyper mobile?
As mentioned earlier, joint Hyper mobility is very common particularly among young females and athletes and if you have hyper mobile joints, it does not necessarily mean that you need special care unless you begin to develop some sign and symptoms.
A not every hyper mobile person becomes symptomatic but some symptoms such as joint pain or swelling, joint dislocation and subluxation, fatigue and muscle cramps are common. In addition, ligament sprains, tendon strains and other musculoskeletal injuries are more common in hyper mobile people. The good news is that many of these symptoms can be improved by strengthening and balance exercises and avoiding excessive stretching. Moreover, we naturally become more stiff as we become older, so many of these symptoms may attenuate later in life. However, there are some possible sequels such as premature degenerative changes in joints because of frequent moving beyond the normal range.
It is also worth mentioning that there is some evidence regarding the increased risk of osteoporosis in hyper mobile people, the reason is still unknown but it is wise to have a healthy diet and active lifestyle to prevent it. Your doctor may also advise you some dietary supplement such as vitamin C and D.
When should I see a Doctor?
There are some signs which could be suggestive of a more serious conditions in a person with hyper mobile joints so if you have any of the below signs, you should consult with a physician specially if you are doing moderate or high intensity exercise or want to start a new exercise program.
1- A first relative suffering from one of the connective tissue disorders such as Marfan or Ehlers danlos syndrome.
2- Disproportionately long arms, legs and fingers or tall and thin body.
3- Flat feet or curved spine.
4- Stretch marks on the skin which are not related to weight gain or loss.
5- Thin or elastic skin which easy get bruised or does not heal well.
5- Sunken or stuck out chest.
6- Heartor vascular problems such as valve disease or Aortic aneurysm.
7- Lung disease.
8- Sudden collapsing or fainting.
7- Eye problems such as sever near sightedness, dislocated lens, detached retina, glucoma or early cataract.
8- Chronic fatigue or muscle weakness.

If you’d like to book an appointment with Dr Mona Shabghareh, please call (03) 9770 2398.