Hypermobility syndrome

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Hypermobility syndrome
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Hypermobility syndrome (HMS) or joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS) is a heritable connective tissue disorder[1] that affects the joints and ligaments in a persons body. It comes in different degrees of severity, the least being similar to double-jointedness, but if it is progressively more serious it can create more problems for someone. These can include the inability to walk properly or for long distances, and pain in affected areas. In some cases, people with HMS are subjected to hypersensitive nerves and a weaker immune system. It also can have an effect on exhaustion levels and some cases cause depressive episodes.

It is a genetic disorder. It is similar to other connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers–Danlos syndrome.


There is a lack of distinction in the clinical presentation of JHS and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, hypermobility type (EDS-HT) and they may be the same condition.[2][3] Newer classifications either replace both terms with hypermobile EDS (hEDS)[4] or, where individuals do not meet diagnostic criteria for other syndromes, a diagnosis of hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD) is proposed.[5]

JHS is not to be confused with double-jointedness, where a person can bend their limbs in positions others find impossible.

Signs and symptoms

Some common symptoms of hypermobility syndrome include:

  • Joint pain around the affected area;
  • Exhaustion (typically when affected area is the legs);
  • Swelling around the joint when joint is being exhorted;
  • Depression;
  • Weaker immune system;
  • Sensitive skin around the affected area;
  • Varying pain levels around the affected area;
  • Muscle spasms

Other symptoms can appear and not everyone affected experiences the same symptoms.


Being diagnosed with hypermobility syndrome can be a difficult task. There is a lack of wide understanding of the condition and it can be considered a zebra condition. As Hypermobility Syndrome can be easily mistaken for being double-jointed or categorized as nothing more than perhaps an achy body from lack of exercise, medical professionals may diagnose those affected incorrectly and not adequately investigate the symptoms. Due to these circumstances many sufferers can live not knowing they have it. As a result those affected without a proper diagnosis can easily injure themselves and not take proper care to ensure they go about working safely.


Treating hypermobility syndrome can be difficult. The condition has no direct cure, but its symptoms can be treated. Physiotherapy, particularly exercise, is the main treatment for the condition, although there is only limited evidence for its effectiveness.[6]

Treatments for pain include:

  • Bandaging the affected area;
  • Placing an ice pack on the affected area;
  • Taking prescribed pain killers such as codeine.


Prevalence of the condition is unknown, but can be high in those attending musculoskeletal services.[3][7]


  1. ^ "Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome | Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD) – an NCATS Program". rarediseases.info.nih.gov. Retrieved 2017-06-19. 
  2. ^ B.T. Tinkle, Issues and Management of Joint Hypermobility. A Guide for the Ehlers-danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type and the Hypermobility Syndrome, Left Paw Press, USA (2008)
  3. ^ a b Palmer et al., 2017
  4. ^ F. Malfait, C. Francomano, P. Byers, J. Belmont, B. Berglund, J. Black, L. Bloom, J.M. Bowen, A.F. Brady, N.P. Burrows, M. Castori, H. Cohen, M. Colombi, S. Demirdas, J. De Backer, A. De Paepe, S. Fournel-Gigleux, M. Frank, N. Ghali, C. Giunta, R. Grahame, A. Hakim, X. Jeunemaitre, D. Johnson, B. Juul-Kristensen, I. Kapferer-Seebacher, H. Kazkaz, T. Kosho, M.E. Lavallee, H. Levy, R. Mendoza-Londono, M. Pepin, F.M. Pope, E. Reinstein, L. Robert, M. Rohrbach, L. Sanders, G.J. Sobey, T. Van Damme, A. Vandersteen, C. van Mourik, N. Voermans, N. Wheeldon, J. Zschocke, B. Tinkle. The 2017 international classification of the Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. Am. J. Med. Genet. Part C Semin. Med. Genet., 175C (2017), pp. 8-26
  5. ^ Castori et al., 2017
  6. ^ Palmer et al., 2014
  7. ^ E. Connelly, A. Hakim, S. Davenport, J. Simmonds. "A study exploring the prevalence of joint hypermobility syndrome in patients attending a musculoskeletal triage clinic." Physiother. Pract. Res., 36 (1) (2015), pp. 43-53
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