What is it? And how can it affect you?
As an ex-professional dancer, I've always been flexible.
Splits, leg kicks, backbends came naturally to me. I wasn't always the most flexible person in my classes, but I knew mineShoulders were doubly articulated, meinKnees bent slightly backwards, and myFingers were very flexible.
That was my normality and I never thought much about it.
It wasn't until the pain and injury set in that I realized that the way my body bends and moves isn't entirely normal. So I got to understand howhypermobilityis a blessing and a curse.
This blog dives inwhat hypermobility is, as fast as you cantest for itand what youcan do to focus on staying strong and pain free.
Let's get into that...
What is hypermobility?
Hypermobility is the excessive range of a joint or the laxity of a joint. Every joint has a "normal" range of motion, measured in degrees. Hypermobile people have their joints move beyond the normal range, some people know this as "doubly articulated"...more on that later.
Why am I hypermobile?
Let's dive into a few reasons why you might be hypermobile, mainly it's your genetics...
Well, hypermobility is something you're born with,it is passed on genetically(Thanks mom or dad).
It just means that the structures surrounding a joint that give it stability aren't as tight, allowing the joint to have more freedom of movement.
Within hypermobility there is a spectrum of degrees of severity. From one or two hypermobile joints to the whole body.
Some people may never experience symptoms or effects of hypermobility, while others may work with pain, stiffness, and fatigue.
Although hypermobility brings flexibility and movement, it also brings with it some challenges that you may have to work with.
How do you know if you're hypermobile?
Hypermobile people are often described as easy-going, flexible, and often double-jointed. There's a simple way to see if you meet the criteria for hypermobility called the Beighton scale.
The Beighton Scaleis a simple way to test if your joints are hypermobile. It is divided into 5 different movements and measures 9 points in total.
You are generally considered hypermobile if you have a score of 5/9 or higher.
You perform every movement left and right and get a point for each side - if applicable.
How to make the Beighton scale yourself:
This is a simple way to test if you are hypermobile. We use these 5 simple tests daily in our physio clinic and it's easy to do at home.
Can you bend your pinky back more than 90 degrees?
1 point per finger that spans 90 degrees.
2. Can your thumb reach your forearm?
1 point per side that touches.
3. Straighten your arm. Is your elbow hyperextended 10 degrees or more?
1 point per elbow.
4. Straighten your leg. Do your knees bend backwards?
1 point per knee.
5. Reach forward and touch the floor.
Can you put your hands flat on the floor without bending your knees?
What is your overall Beighton score?
What does it mean if I'm hypermobile?
If you're hyper mobile, fret not - welcome to the club! All of this means you have more mobility than stability.
Hypermobile people love to stretch—almost too much.So it can only mean that you need to shift your focus from stretching to strengthening.
Since your body is naturally loose, you need to give it the information it needs. And it takes strength and stability.
What can I do to help?
Exercise is better for your body when you're hypermobile. The more feedback you give your body, the easier it is for your body to be aware of it.
I can tell you first hand the less I do the more it hurts, it may just be the universe's way of keeping me active - but it helps me feel better and move better!
You want to keep your naturally relaxed joints aware and strong. This will help prevent injuries such as soft tissue injuries, dislocations and subluxations! ...Dislocations are a whole other story, which we'll get to another time.
Do I need to know something if I'm hypermobile?
If you're hypermobile, you know that you can move into extreme positions very easily.
Because of this, you need to help your body become more aware of how you move into these positions and where your limbs are in space. This is to help reduce your risk of injury.
Body awareness is the key
Your body's ability to know where you are in space is called proprioception.
If you are hypermobile, this system is slightly compromised. For example: you can easily kick your leg up in the air, but how hard is it to actually hold it there and then twist? - Hard, right!
To achieve this, you need good balance and coordination. It's all part of proprioception. You need to train your brain to have that awareness and coordination to protect your joints and soft tissues from possible injury.
I'm flexible, so why do I still get hurt or hurt?
Because hypermobile bodies are designed that way, we are more prone to injury. Our ligaments "the things that hold our bones together" are looser, putting us at increased risk of sprains and dislocations.
That's why strengthening and stability are so important, because when you have strong muscles, your ligaments are better protected from injury.
For all the people with loose limbs out there, if you need help with pain or guidance on how to manage and overcome your pain, we are just a phone call away.
Let us know your Beighton score below and keep an eye out for more hypermobility blogs!
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The Beighton Scale is a simple way of testing if your joints are hypermobile. It is broken down into 5 different movements and measures out of a total of 9 points. You are generally considered to be hypermobile if you have a score of 5/9 or more.
A positive Beighton score for adults is 5 out of the 9 possible points; for children, a positive score is at least 6 out of 9 points. As joint mobility is known to decrease by age for adults, include historical information by asking, “Can you now or have you previously been able to…”Can you have EDS with low Beighton score? ›
Subjects with a Beighton score lower than 5/9 were not clinically considered as EDS. However, they showed dermal abnormalities including FCF as described earlier [10–12, 18]. In addition, ultrastructural ECM abnormalities were presently found in asymptomatic or low Beighton score subjects of EDS family pedigrees.Can you be hypermobile and not have EDS? ›
Some people have problems caused by hypermobility, but do not have any of the specific EDS conditions. They may be diagnosed with hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD), which is treated in the same way as hEDS.How rare is hyper flexibility? ›
Hypermobile joints are common and occur in about 10 to 25% of the population, but in a minority of people, pain and other symptoms are present.Does hypermobility show on MRI? ›
Conclusion: There is a relatively high incidence of inflammatory and structural lesions on MRI SIJ of patients with hypermobility. The presence of hypermobility should be taken into consideration when interpreting MRI changes in patients with suspected SpA.What are 3 of the cardinal features of Ehlers-Danlos? ›
7.2 Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. EDS is a genetically and clinically heterogeneous heritable disorder characterized by abnormal collagen synthesis, and whose cardinal features include joint hypermobility, skin hyperextensibility, and soft connective tissue fragility .Does hypermobility cause brain fog? ›
Depending on the type of EDS, symptoms can range from loose joints to life-threatening complications. Those with hypermobile EDS (hEDS) often report experiencing brain fog.Can I claim disability for hypermobility syndrome? ›
If your hypermobility significantly affects your ability to walk or carry out daily living tasks, you might be eligible for Personal Independence Payments (or PIP).Can Ehlers-Danlos be misdiagnosed? ›
Patients with EDS, especially those with EDS hypermobility type, are often misdiagnosed with conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, or depression, given the overlap of symptoms and the psychosocial impact they have on the patient.
Skin and Connective Tissue: People with hEDS do NOT have to have profoundly stretchy skin! Most notably, in hEDS, the degree of softness, stretchiness, fragility, bruisability, and poor wound healing of skin differs from “normal” subjects but is mild in comparison to other types of EDS.Can EDS hypermobility make you tired? ›
In common with people who have other long-term conditions, many people with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) or hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD) experience chronic fatigue.What does an EDS flare up feel like? ›
"A "flare up" with EDS for me is extreme pain with my joints, a low grade fever, and subluxations of my fingers and other joints. "Today you are actually witnessing one of the longest flares I've had since being diagnosed.What is the difference between hypermobility syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos? ›
While hypermobile EDS (hEDS) remains the only EDS without a confirmed cause, the criteria for hEDS diagnosis have been tightened compared to the 1997 Villefranche nosology as determined by international consensus. The essential difference between HSD and hEDS lies in the stricter criteria for hEDS compared to the HSD.What doctor do you see for hypermobility? ›
Rheumatology nurses play an important role in identifying patients who may have hypermobility, a condition marked by painful joints capable of a long range of motion, says Dr.Does hypermobility affect the brain? ›
Inferior parietal cortex can affect proprioceptive awareness and hypermobility is itself linked to dyspraxia. Our findings suggest that processes compromising function in neuro-developmental conditions may occur in individuals with hypermobility, putatively enhancing vulnerability to stress and anxiety.Why does hypermobility cause fatigue? ›
What are the causes of fatigue in symptomatic-hypermobile patients? In non-hypermobile people, joints are held firmly in place by the ligaments. Current thought is that in hypermobile people their ligaments tend to be more stretchy, therefore, muscles have to take on part, or all, of the work in order to compensate.Does hypermobility affect balance? ›
Hypermobility had a significant effect on the balance tests (p<0.001). Conclusion: The balance problem was found to be significantly higher in FMS patients with hypermobility than in those without hypermobility and in the healthy controls.Is there a blood test for hypermobility? ›
Genetic tests on a sample of your blood can confirm the diagnosis in rarer forms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and help rule out other problems. For hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, the most common form, there is no genetic testing available.Can hypermobility syndrome affect your eyes? ›
Conclusions: The most consistent association of eye anomalies in the JHS/EDS-HT group included xerophthalmia, steeper corneas, pathologic myopia, and vitreous abnormalities, as well as a higher rate of minor lens opacities.
- Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is the name for a group of uncommon conditions that affect connective tissues. ...
- Marfan syndrome. Like EDS, Marfan syndrome affects the body's connective tissues. ...
- Osteogenesis imperfecta.
People who have been diagnosed with Hypermobile EDS may also experience bladder and bowel problems such as stress or urgency incontinence or intestinal dysmotility.Does hypermobility affect sleep? ›
It's not uncommon for those with Hypermobility and EDS to have difficulty getting into a comfortable sleeping position.What should you not do with hypermobility? ›
“People with hypermobility should avoid getting to the end range of an exercise,” Verstegen says. For example, maintaining a micro bend in the elbows at the top of a pushup rather than fully extending the elbows.Can you get a blue badge if you have hypermobility? ›
If you're disabled or have a health condition that affects your mobility, you can apply for a Blue Badge. You can also apply for a badge if you care for a child with a health condition that affects their mobility.Should people with hypermobility lift weights? ›
Don't lift more than you can control
When you're strength training with hypermobility, more is not better; the right amount is better. So, this means that if you need to start with active movement, with no weight because that makes your muscles tired, then do it.
Inherent flexibility makes it relatively easy for hypermobile people to perform certain physical activities. According to McCormack et al. (37), JH may be an advantage for gymnasts and for cricket spin bowlers. It also facilitates the performance of acrobatics, contortionism, yoga (20), and diving (7).What kind of doctor can diagnose Ehlers-Danlos? ›
Most medical doctors should be able to diagnose EDS and HSD. However, because the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes are genetic disorders, primary care physicians often provide their patients with referrals to a geneticist.Is Ehlers-Danlos inherited from mother or father? ›
For a child to be affected both parents must pass on an EDS gene. With each pregnancy there is a 25% chance that each child will have the disorder.Do Rheumatologists know about EDS? ›
The rheumatologist can play an important role in the diagnosis of EDS and is central to the ongoing management of many EDS patients.
The defects of the collagen previously reported in EDS account for the increased extensibility of the skin (1, 2). It is possible that the altered skin structure results in increased pliability of the skin which may allow the hair follicles to expand.Does EDS affect nails? ›
Abnormalities of the nails are frequently seen in clinical practice although there has been no specific study of these in people with EDS. Difficulty with hand function, coupled with painful upper and lower limb joints, may also make it difficult for someone to reach and cut their toenails.Does EDS affect facial features? ›
Thus, some affected individuals may have a characteristic facial appearance. Cheeks are often taught and hollow. Lips and nose are often thin. Eyes are relatively prominent.What happens during an EDS flare up? ›
It can result in a loss of muscle mass required for joint stability, cardiovascular deconditioning which can exacerbate POTS and fatigue, and result in reduced tissue tolerance for loads and postures. This ultimately makes daily activities more difficult during and after a flare.Do people with EDS sleep more? ›
Fatigue is a common symptom of patients with EDS and is associated with poor sleep, greater psychologic distress, and sleep disruption. Other associated conditions that can interfere with sleep quality are chronic pain,7,8 dysautonomia,9 and psychiatric disorders.Can hypermobility cause night sweats? ›
Many people with EDS have autonomic dysfunction, which can cause sweating to appear at ridiculous times, especially at night. It's not a small amount of sweat either, and many of us have to get out of bed to change our clothes and sheets.Can EDS be psychosomatic? ›
Ehlers-Danlos syndromes (EDS) are a heterogeneous group of hereditary connective tissue disorders characterized by joint hypermobility, widespread musculoskeletal pain and tissue fragility. Psychiatric disorders and psychosocial impairment are common, yet poorly characterized, findings in EDS patients.What supplements should people with Ehlers-Danlos take? ›
To reduce complications of skin fragility and promote wound healing, individuals with EDS-HT should take 750–1000 mg/day vitamin C and 1500 mg/day of methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) plus silica 3 mg/day .Does weather Affect Ehlers-Danlos syndrome? ›
For us with EDS/HSD, there is not much evidence specifically targeted at our hypermobile bodies. But there is evidence supporting that cold weather/bad weather can increase pain to the joints in patients with arthritis, which is a common comorbidity of EDS.How do I know if I'm hypermobile? ›
Thick bands of tissue (ligaments) hold your joints together and keep them from moving too much or too far out of range. In people with joint hypermobility syndrome, those ligaments are loose or weak. If you have joints that are more flexible than normal and it causes you pain, you may have joint hypermobility syndrome.
Some patients who exhibit fibromyalgia symptoms clinically but do not meet the ACR criteria could actually have joint hypermobility misdiagnosed as fibromyalgia.Is hypermobility the same as fibromyalgia? ›
Fibromyalgia and Hypermobility: The Parallel of Symptoms
Fatigue is a major symptom in patients with “fibromyalgia,” but it is also a symptom amongst patients with hypermobility.
Joint hypermobility syndrome is a common cause of chronic pain and fatigue seen in at least 3% of the general population. Patients may also present with headaches, anxiety, orthostasis, and abdominal pain. Providers can use the Beighton Score and Brighton Criteria to screen for joint hypermobility syndrome.Is there a link between hypermobility and autism? ›
Joint hypermobility is a common connective tissue variant, reportedly overrepresented in Autism. Alexithymia is a personality construct characterised by altered emotional awareness which has notably high rates of overlap with autism spectrum disorder.How do you get a hypermobility assessed? ›
The most common test to assess joint hypermobility is the Beighton scoring system, which uses a nine-point scale to measure joint hypermobility. Doctors assess five different joint movements, four of them on both sides of the body.What causes hyper flexibility? ›
The main cause of HSD and hEDS is genetics. Hypermobility often runs in families and therefore cannot be prevented. It is believed that if one parent has hypermobility one in two children will also have it. Someone who has HSD or hEDS often has faulty or weak collagen.What causes extreme flexibility? ›
There are many different types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, but the most common signs and symptoms include: Overly flexible joints. Because the connective tissue that holds joints together is looser, your joints can move far past the normal range of motion. Joint pain and dislocations are common.What is hyper flexibility? ›
Hypermobility is when your joints are too flexible. Joints are areas of your body where two bones meet. Most joints bend, letting your body move. Some examples of joints are your shoulders, elbows, wrists, fingers, knees, ankles, and toes.How can you tell if you have flexible hands? ›
- Stand with your knees straight. ...
- If you can bend one or both of your elbows slightly backward, add a point to your score.
- If you can bend one or both of your thumbs down until they touch your inner arm, add a point for each thumb.
“People with hypermobility should avoid getting to the end range of an exercise,” Verstegen says. For example, maintaining a micro bend in the elbows at the top of a pushup rather than fully extending the elbows.
Is my hypermobility syndrome a disability? Some people are disabled by their hypermobility, other people are not. Symptoms can also change over time, so some people may go through periods of being disabled and periods of not being disabled by their condition. It all depends on how you personally are affected.Does hypermobility affect nerves? ›
Some people with hypermobility also develop neuropathic pain, which may be felt as burning, stinging, tingling, shooting, numbing, etc. Sometimes such pain is caused by disc problems, but often it is quite localized or does not follow the usual patterns of pinched nerves.What disorders are associated with hypermobility? ›
Hypermobility is a frequent sign of hereditary disorders of connective tissue (e.g., Ehlers-Danlos syndromes, Marfan syndrome), in which the main characteristic is the multisystem fragility that prone to proprioceptive and motor coordination dysfunction and hence to trauma and chronic pain.How do I know if I'm naturally flexible? ›
You don't have to be able to twist yourself up like a pretzel to be considered flexible, though. "[I]f you can touch your toes, that means that you have pretty good flexibility," Franklin Antoian, a personal trainer and the founder of iBodyFit.com told INSIDER. Stand up, bend at your waist, and try to touch your toes.How can I test my flexibility at home? ›
- Stand and raise your right arm above your head. ...
- Place your left arm behind your back with your palm facing out and your fingers upward. ...
- Have someone measure the distance between the ends of your middle fingers. ...
- Do the test two more times and record your best reading.
Hypermobile EDS may contribute to SI joint dysfunction, low back pain, and hip pain by affecting the SI joints' ligaments and cartilage.