Hypermobility group - Term 2 2023!
By popular demand, we are thrilled to be running our amazing hypermobility group 'Flex-Ability' again in Term 2!
Our group is specifically tailored to children with joint hypermobility, who may be having difficulty with:
Our weekly group is an amazing opportunity for your child to make friends, have fun and understand more about their body! Our amazing Physiotherapists Hirumi and wonderful Exercise Physiologist, Caitie are our group leaders and have so much wisdom and activity ideas for you children to help them excel in their motor skills and boost their confidence! There are limited places available, so be quick to secure your child's place!
Welcome to our Hypermobility Page
Firstly, what is Joint hypermobility?
Hyper = Lots of
Mobility = Movement
Hypermobility is the excessive movement / flexibility in our joints. We commonly use the words - bendy, flexible, loose or double-jointed to describe hypermobile joints. It is estimated 15% of the population in Australia has joint hypermobility and most people are unaware of it!
click here to Test your child's hypermobility at home
using the beighton score
When we are born, our joints and bones have not fully developed yet, and as a result we are more flexible. As we age, we become stiffer due to joint, muscle and ligament structural development. Therefore, it is very common to find that children are more flexible than adults. General flexibility is normal in children, to varying degrees. Some children have more joints affected, are more flexible and may have other symptoms related to this flexibility, such as pain, fatigue, clumsiness among other issues. These children may have a connective tissue disorder which is causing their flexibility. There are many connective tissue disorders, including HSD (Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder) and EDS (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome).
The connective tissues in our bodies are what joins everything together. In our musculoskeletal system,
connective tissues form ligaments, which join our bones together. Connective Tissue also surrounds our joints to keep them stable and aligned. Connective tissues are made from collagen, and the type of collagen you inherit (stretchy or stiff) determines whether you are hypermobile.
Until recently, hypermobility was chronically misunderstood and under-diagnosed. Recently, The Ehlers Danlos Society (ZEBRA) have developed a diagnostic tool and updated research / terminology including the 2017 EDS International Classification, to better equip us as health care professionals working with hypermobile patients. As a result of these works and international research and advocacy, we now have a better understanding hypermobility and Ehlers Danlos Syndromes, equipping us with better tools and management strategies to help your children.
What causes Hypermobility?
Hypermobility (excessive joint flexibility) depends on a number of factors including genetics, age and racial background, and is more common in females than males. Often, children will inherit their flexibility from their parents or grandparents.
There is no cure to hypermobility, but we know a lot about it and how it can be managed properly with appropriate education and knowledge! It's important to diagnose hypermobility in early childhood, to know what to look for as kids develop and to prevent chronic issues. Knowledge really is power for this condition!
Types of Hypermobility
AHJ – Asymptomatic Hypermobile joints
- Can just be flexible with no symptoms
- Hypermobile in fewer than 5 joints
HSD Hypermobility Spectrum Disorder
- 5 or more joints affected e.g. elbows, knees, fingers, spine
- Plus a secondary musculoskeletal manifestation e.g. subluxations, chronic pain or disturbed proprioception
EDS – Ehlers Danlos Syndromes
- 13 + different types
- Genetic connective tissue disorders - Specific Genetic basis has been identified
- Affect more parts of the body than just the joint
HSD and hypermobileEDS can be equal in severity, but more importantly, both need similar management, validation, and care.
Children with Hypermobility present to us with a wide range of symptoms, from pain and injuries to skill difficulties, anxiety and fatigue. Below is a list of patterns we commonly see in our little patients with hypermobility to varying degrees.
Hypermobility in Babies and Toddlers
** Due to musculoskeletal immaturity, a formal diagnosis of joint hypermobility cannot be made in children under the age of 5, however we understand what do look for and how children present. Identifying the risk factors early provides you with the tools, strategies and resources to help your child as they grow.
Poor toleration of tummy time
Poor head control
Often diagnosed with ‘low tone’ which can be an independent diagnosis
Some are described as ‘lazy’ by family, often wanting to be carried
More likely to have reflux
May have food intolerances
May have delays in gross motor skills
May have hip dysplasia
May be hypersensitive to loud noises and bright lights
Poor body awareness such as difficulty getting dressed, catching a ball
Hypermobility in school children
Teachers may describe children as being ‘low tone’
May have difficulties with sports and poor coordination
Joint sprains and strains - commonly fingers, knees, ankles
Handwriting difficulties and fatigue
Joint subluxations and dislocations
Coming home exhausted (fatigued) after school
Headaches and Migraines
Pain - changing and moving regularly
Bruising regularly for no apparent reason
Poor healing of cuts and scabs
Poor circulation - cold hands and feet
Dizziness and heart palpitations
More prone to digestive issues such as food intolerances, allergies, bloating or diarrhoea
May be very active or very cautious
Prone to anxiety and depression
Heat or cold weather intolerance
Access the latest research, support groups and guidelines at the Ehlers –Danlos Society
To view our Hypermobility Series on our youtube channel, head to:
YOU TUBE - Ocean Kids
For more information for hypermobility in adults, please read hypermobility_for_patients_pdf.pdf
Very commonly, we will diagnose parents in session, as most hypermobility cases are hereditary, This article is written by a GP which provides a very accurate picture of what you may have experienced as a result of being hypermobile.
Key strategies from our Physio's to you:
1. Education – We will teach you all about your child’s condition and how to manage it effectively. Understanding the cycles, fatigue and other symptoms will help you to connect with and understand your child. Their symptoms are real, and need to be listened to, across all settings.
2. Strength training is key, in a fun and safe environment, whether it is through play, outdoors or in the pool.
Remaining active in safe, play and sport based activities is crucial for development, pain management and mental health for children with hypermobility.
3. Activity Modification is important to manage persistent fatigue, particularly in school aged children and teens.
Our Physiotherapists assess, treat and diagnose Joint Hypermobility across the ages. We are skilled in assisting you child to manage their symptoms associated with hypermobility as they grow and guiding them to appropriate programs, sports and support groups.
Please reach out if you think your child may be hypermobile at any age, or if they are having any difficulties as detailed above. We are here to support YOU and create more awareness about this very prevalent and important condition. To book an appoinment, please Contact Us