Joint Hypermobility

Hypermobility is a description of joint movement. Hyper means ‘more’ and mobility means ‘movement’. It is considered a normal finding by medical professionals as studies have shown that up to 71% of children under 8 are hypermobile.

Most people with hypermobile joints won’t experience any problems and won’t require any medical treatment or support and can even find it to be beneficial in sport.

In some children joint hypermobility can cause pain and difficulty with movement and coordination.

What should I look out for?

Joint hypermobility only becomes an area of concern if your child is complaining of frequent, severe pain which is affecting their day to day function and participation.

Symptoms of tiredness and discomfort when your child has been particularly active can be due to the muscles needing to work harder to maintain stability around the flexible joints.

Symptoms linked to joint hypermobility can include:

  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Clumsiness and frequent falls
  • Flat feet
  • Clicky joints
  • Pain
  • Reluctance to walk long distances

Guidance and helpful information

If you think your child may have joint hypermobility, focus on keeping your child fit and active. Activities such as swimming, cycling, playing in parks and PE are recommended.

Always ensure you child wears good supportive footwear especially when being active.

Control your child’s activity levels by balancing activity and rest. Gradually increase the amount of activity without causing excessive pain and fatigue.

Gently massaging the affected areas and having warm baths, especially before bed time, can help to relax over-worked joints and muscles.

How can we help?

Most children do not require a specific physiotherapy referral. Following the advice above will help support your child.

Older children who continue to experience difficulties, despite following the guidance, should ask for a referral from their GP. They will be assessed by a physiotherapist or occupational therapist. An exercise programme will be made on an individual basis and special advice given.

What happens next?

Once a referral for your child from a healthcare professional has been accepted, the physiotherapy team will provide you with an initial appointment over the phone or by post.

The first appointment will take place in a clinic. We will take a detailed history, observe your child doing some tasks, as well as complete a physical assessment.