Joint hypermobility (JH) is common and often referred to as being ‘double jointed’. People with JH have very flexible joints and most have no symptoms or problems.
Some patients do have other symptoms associated with their JH such as muscle and joint pains and some level of fatigue. Easy bruising and clicking of joints are common symptoms that should not cause concern. JH is a spectrum with many people having no symptoms but a few having several problems and the new terminology of ‘hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD) has replaced older terms such as EDS type 3 or joint hyper-mobility syndrome.
The associated symptoms of HSD may include abdominal pain with or without some levels of bladder and bowel dysfunction and even more rarely, postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS), hernia, uterine or rectal prolapse and joint subluxation and dislocation.
There is often confusion regarding terminology in hypermobility as JH can be one of many features in some extremely rare, complex disorders such as Ehlers Danlos syndrome and Marfans. It is important to recognise that most people with hypermobile joints do not have these rare, serious diseases. Here is a patient information leaflet from the National Ehlers Danlos National Diagnostic Service.
Many people need only reassurance to carry on normal activities when JH is present but where treatment is needed to help with joint pain, physiotherapy, occupational therapy and non-medical pain management are beneficial. The aims of treatment for JH and HSD are to improve current symptoms, as well as avoiding de-conditioning, muscle weakness and persistent pain. Associated non-joint symptoms may need referral to relevant medical specialities.