Mid-Week MOT: Joint Hypermobility - Bend it like Beckham....
At school we called it being double jointed! Not sure where that term came from but if you could bend your thumb in an odd position, that is what you were......
This week I am talking about joint hypermobility and the differences between that and just having joint laxity.
Women are more likely than men to have hypermobile joints and the condition is prevelant in Asian and Afro-Carribean races. As we age, the collagen fibres stiffen so if you were super stretchy in your youth, you may find stretching more painful in your 40's and beyond.
So think of hypermobility as a scale of flexibility:-
Increased flexibility/Ligament laxity - useful for dancers, yoga practice and gymnasts. No other joint or muscle problems.
Joint Hypermobility - A Beighton score of more than 4 is classed as hypermobile, but not necessarily joint hypermobility syndrome.
Joint Hypermobility Syndrome - Scoring on the Brighton Scale which includes a Beighton score of 4 or more, joint pain in those joints for 3 months or more, frequent dislocations, increased skin elasticity.
Associated systemic issues - conditions are Marfans syndrome, Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, brittle bone disease and Downs syndrome where there is a collagen disorder effecting ligament strucutre, cardiac valves and lung tissue.
People with hypermobility have an imbalance in the structure of their ligaments with not enough of the strong collagen and too much fibrous elastin, and this can be hereditary. Sufferers are likely to have dropped foot arches or very high arches, increased lower curve in the spine, back and neck ache, poor proprioception - the ability of the brain to know where the body is in space - and so may fall over and appear clumsy,
Dislocations at the knee and shoulder are a common too and due to the joints being lax, the muscles tend to have to overwork to hold the area in a stable position and so it is not uncommon to suffer with musculoskeletal pain and overuse type conditions.
The wall of the gut can become a little too stretchy and so these patients often complain of slow transit time and digestion problems.
Blood pressure may be lower, leaving sufferers prone to fainting and there may be bladder problems due to weak pelvic floor muscles.
Manual therapy is a very useful adjunct to help alleviate the aches and pains that accompany this condition, along with gentle stretching of the muscles and some light weight training to strengthen the joints and take some muscle strain off.
Use of orthotic insoles to raise the foot arches can be useful as well as specific balance type training to increase proprioceptive ability.
People with hypermobility have a greater chance of developing osteoarthritis due to the excessive movement at the joints although there is no evidence that symptoms are any worse than non mobile people.
If you think you are suffering from any of the above do see your GP or practice nurse to chat about it.
For further advice and information visit www.arthritisresearchuk.org
As usual for osteopathy in High Wycombe and beyond, call Lucy from OsteoFusion on 07833 321604 or visit www.osteofusion.co.uk
Thanks for reading!
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