Joint Hypermobility and Physiotherapy

3 Apr, 2018

Joint pain

What is Hypermobility?

Joints of the human body move within an expected range. Connective tissue, including ligaments, help limit the range of motion, which assists in providing stability to the joint. Hypermobility occurs when joints move beyond the normal range of motion. It may occur on its own, or can a symptom that occurs in a wide range of conditions, including:

  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome
  • Benign joint hypermobility syndrome
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Marfan Syndrome
  • Down Syndrome

Hypermobility may be asymptomatic and cause no problems or concerns, however, it may also lead to a host of manifestations including:

  • Recurrent joint sprains
  • Joint laxity and instability, resulting in subluxations and dislocations
  • Frequent tendon pain, bursitis
  • Joints that click and lock
  • Early onset arthritis from damage to the joint cartilage
  • Early fatigue, such as a sore hand from writing
  • Joint pain
  • Scoliosis

Physiotherapy can be beneficial in

  • Pain relief including manual therapy and soft tissue massage.
  • Exercise program that you will be able to complete independently. All programs are specific to your condition and tailored so they are safe and effective for you to complete.

– Strengthening exercises assist in strengthening the muscles and increasing muscle tone to assist with joint stability.

– Dynamic control exercises to train appropriate patterns of movement, particularly at the shoulder and lower back/hip.

– Proprioceptive exercises. Proprioception is your brain’s ability to detect the position of your joints at any given time. Individuals with Joint Hypermobility Syndrome demonstrated significant improvements in proprioception following an 8-week long closed kinetic chain exercise program, which had further effects on improving pain and quality of life (Ferrell et al., 2004)

  • Advice and education that is specific to you, your needs and your goals. This can include advice on activity modification, returning to sport or work, and options for pain relief.
  • Hydrotherapy can be an effective way of performing therapy for hypermobile individuals (Palmer et al., 2014). The buoyancy of water assists in reliving compression through painful joints.

Though hypermobility cannot be reversed, physiotherapy is an effective intervention in improving the symptoms that can result, leading to longer-term improvements in quality of life.

At Generation Physio we can travel to you. All our practitioners are mobile and provide treatment to you in your own home. If you require advise from our experienced and qualified Physiotherapists please call 1300 122 884.

Ferrell, W. R., Tennant, N., Sturrock, R. D., Ashton, L., Creed, G., Brydson, G., & Rafferty, D. (2004). Amelioration of symptoms by enhancement of proprioception in patients with joint hypermobility syndrome. Arthritis & Rheumatology, 50(10), 3323-3328.

Palmer, S., Bailey, S., Barker, L., Barney, L., & Elliott, A. (2014). The effectiveness of therapeutic exercise for joint hypermobility syndrome: a systematic review. Physiotherapy, 100(3), 220-227.

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