Hypermobile joints are joints that move beyond the normal range with little effort. Joints most commonly affected are the elbows, wrists, fingers, and knees.
Children are often more flexible than adults, but those with hypermobile joints can flex and extend their joints beyond what is considered normal. The movement is done without too much force and without discomfort.
Thick bands of tissue called ligaments help hold joints together and keep them from moving too much or too far. In children with hypermobility syndrome, those ligaments are loose or weak. This may lead to:
Children with hypermobile joints also often have flat feet.
Hypermobile joints often occur in otherwise healthy and normal children. This is called benign hypermobility syndrome.
Rare medical conditions associated with hypermobile joints include:
There is no specific care for this condition. Persons with hypermobile joints have an increased risk for joint dislocation and other problems.
Extra care may be needed to protect the joints. Ask your health care provider for recommendations.
Call your health care provider if:
Hypermobile joints often occur with other symptoms that, taken together, define a specific syndrome or condition. A diagnosis is based on a family history, medical history, and a complete physical exam. The exam includes a close look at our muscles and bones.
The doctor or nurse will ask questions about the symptoms, including:
Further tests may be done.
Joint hypermobility; Loose joints; Hypermobility syndrome
Krakow D. Heritable diseases of connective tissue. In: Firestein GS, Budd RC, Harris ED Jr., et al, eds. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 105.
Updated by: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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