Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) is a condition characterised by the joints bending further than the typical range of movement and people with hypermobility are often wrongly described as being 'double-jointed'. Estimates suggest that around 10-20% of people may have hypermobile joints but it is difficult to be certain as the condition is often misdiagnosed or not recognised.
Though JHS can affect anyone, it is more commonly found in children, women and people of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent. It also commonly affects dancers, athletes and gymnasts. Many people with JHS do not experience significant symptoms that impact their daily life but for a smaller number of people symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, can include:
- Instability and hyper-extension of the joints
- Strains, sprains, dislocations and subluxations
- Problems with digestion such as acid reflux and slow emptying of the stomach
- Poor proprioception
- Problems with the bladder and bowels
- Light-headedness, dizziness and fainting
- Poor healing of wounds
- Acute or chronic pain
- Soft, stretchy skin
There are many other conditions that may result in JHS, such as:
- Hereditary conditions that affect connective tissue, including Stickler syndrome, Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes
- Loose ligaments or poor muscle tone
- Conditions like cerebral palsy and Down syndrome
- Injuries or repeated stretching
Several conditions can exist alongside JHS such as fibromyalgia, mast cell activation disorders, autonomic dysfunction and autism. It is not fully understood how these conditions may be linked to hypermobility and research is ongoing.
There is currently no cure for hypermobility and so treatment focuses on managing the symptoms. People with JHS have an increased risk of injuries, like the sprains and dislocations mentioned above, and so this management often involves treating such injuries as and when they arise. A long-term treatment plan, including physiotherapy and carefully-controlled exercise, can be followed to help make everyday living easier.
Jobskin® can provide a wide range of garments to help people with JHS manage their symptoms. Our made-to-measure Sensory Dynamic Orthosis (SDO®) garments, crafted from Lycra®, deliver constant, consistent therapeutic pressure that increases sensory and proprioceptive feedback resulting in improved postural stability and musculoskeletal alignment. Orthoses from our Orthowrap™ collection help to control joint instability and prevent excessive motion of the joints, improving alignment and reducing pain.
For help and support, you can visit the Hypermobility Syndromes Association website. Please browse the Jobskin® website or contact a member of our dedicated clinical team for further information about our SDO® and Orthowrap™ collections.
Image credit: Carl Barcelo, 2019. Available at: https://unsplash.com/photos/nqUHQkuVj3c