Joint hypermobility syndrome
Hypermobility means your joints are more flexible than other people's (you may think of yourself as being double jointed). When this causes pain, it might be joint hypermobility syndrome.
When to see your GP
You should see your GP if:
- often get pain or stiffness in your joints or muscles
- keep getting sprains and strains
- keep dislocating your joints (joints "pop out")
- have poor balance or co-ordination
- have thin, stretchy skin
- have digestive problems like diarrhoea or constipation
These can be symptoms of joint hypermobility syndrome.
What happens at your GP appointment
Your GP will examine you and will usually test the flexibility of your joints.
They may also order blood tests or an X-ray to help rule out any other conditions such as arthritis.
Treating joint hypermobility syndrome
There's no cure for joint hypermobility syndrome.
The main treatment is improving muscle strength and fitness so your joints are protected.
Ask your GP to refer you to a physiotherapist or occupational therapist for specialist advice. You can also book them privately.
They can help you:
- reduce pain and risk of dislocations
- improve muscle strength and fitness
- improve posture and balance
- find physiotherapy services
- find occupational therapy services
Joint care you can do yourself
There are some things you should and shouldn’t do improve joint and muscle strength, and reduce strain. See information below for what these include.
- gentle low-impact exercise like swimming or cycling - not doing any exercise can make your symptoms worse
- maintain a healthy weight
- buy good, firm shoes
- if you have flat feet, use special insoles (support arches) in shoes
- do high-impact exercise
- over exercise
- grip things too tightly
- overextend your joints just because you can
Treating joint pain
Your GP may be able to prescribe stronger painkillers.
If you're in severe pain, your GP may refer you to a pain clinic to help you learn how to cope better with pain.
To help ease joint pain and stiffness, you can:
- have warm baths
- use hot water bottles
- use heat-rub cream
Causes of joint hypermobility syndrome
Joint hypermobility syndrome usually runs in families and can't be prevented.
Usually, the joints are loose and stretchy because the tissues that should make them stronger and support them are weak.
The weakness is because the collagen that strengthens the tissues is different from other people's.
Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS)
Most experts agree that joint hypermobility syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome are the same and patients should get the same treatment.
This may change as more research is carried out.
More useful links
The information on this page has been adapted from original content from the NHS website.
For further information see terms and conditions.