Hypermobility is when your joints are more flexible than others around you, (sometimes known as double jointed). This is known as a normal variant, or normal difference between people, such as a person’s height.
All children are born being very flexible and there is no average flexibility for children as they grow. They all develop their own way.
Some people can experience some pain, as their muscles can work harder to control movements with their flexibility. Building up muscle strength and endurance through general activity will help manage and prevent this. Please see our Get Active (link to get active information) section for some ideas and information on general activity.
If children experience discomfort, they will often report it after an activity or in the evening/night time. This is often because they are in a ‘Boom-bust’ cycle. This is the same as when an adult works hard at the gym or goes for a long run without building up first and they are sore the next day. The best way to manage this is to pace activity. Please see the leaflet above for information on how to pace activity.
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
- Reluctance to walk long distances
Guidance and 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.