Hypermobility is common among the children we see for physical therapy. When children’s joints are excessively flexible or move beyond the normal range, we describe the child or the child’s joints as “hypermobile.”
Children and adults who are “hypermobile” may be more prone to:
♥ Back pain, joint pain (growing pains)
♥ Increased injuries like ligament sprains and joint dislocations
♥ Weakness or muscle fatigue
♥ Clumsiness or frequently falls
♥ Popping or clicking in the joints
♥ A tendency to join the circus 😉
Hypermobility is a characteristic or symptom of MANY other physical conditions like:
♥ Hypotonia–low muscle tone causes too much mobility in the joints
♥ Down Syndrome–low muscle tone and loose joints cause weakness
♥ Muscular Dystrophy–the muscle weakness causes too much mobility in the joints
♥ Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome— the connective tissues (the tissues around the joints or other body parts, not including the muscles) are too loose, causing hypermobility and weakness. Connective tissue is everywhere in the body including the skin and vital organs like the stomach and the heart. So some kids with EDS have problems with digestion, blood pressure, and thin skin.
But it is important to note that some babies and children are hypErmobile without any other known conditions or syndromes.
Babies may fall behind in their milestones because of the hypermobility.
And some young children may not be aware of their hypermobility until they start to have problems with muscle fatigue, lack of coordination or frequent injuries. They may just be called “accident prone.”
For a lot of our patient-kiddos in physical therapy, their joints are hypErmobile because their muscle tone is “hypOtonic.”
“Hypotonia” is a fancy way of describing muscle tone (the tightness of the muscles) that is more loose or floppy.
When the muscles are floppy, then the bones are loosely connected at the joints, making them hypermobile. Kids with floppy muscles and loose joints can be weak and uncoordinated, and everything they do to move and play takes a lot more effort, so they get tired easily.
In physical therapy, we work on strengthening the legs, tummy and shoulder muscles (known as the core or stability muscles.) The stronger the muscles are around the hypermobile joints, the fewer problems kids will have like pain, sprains, and dislocations.
We also work on balance, coordination and endurance so kids with hypermobility can participate in all play activities with more confidence, more energy and less pain or injuries. Yay!
So if you have any questions at all about the looseness of your child’s joints or the floppiness of your child’s muscles, I’m your girl! Don’t hesitate to reach out to me. No question is a dumb question, and no concern is too small when it comes to your children’s health and happiness!! Comment below or schedule here:
If you are curious about how hypermobile you or your children are, you can do the test on your own using the Beighton Hypermobility Score.
(Disclaimer: This test is not diagnostic. If a child scores a 7 or above, in just means their joints are hypermobile. The score does not mean they have hypermobility syndrome or any associated diagnosis. Your doctor is the only one who can diagnose your child.)
**Important note before taking the test:
Children are naturally more hypermobile than adults. A score 4-6 is still considered NORMAL for children and greater than 6 is HYPERMOBILE. (For an adult, a score of 4 or greater is considered hypermobile.)
Use this link to see a video and take the test: Beighton Hypermobility Score
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