Am I hypermobile is a question I get asked regularly as it is actually really quite common.
As a chiropractor, here in Eastbourne, I generally see people with hypomobile joints but we do see people with hypermobile joints also and we just need to change the type of treatment for those people.
Hypermobility vs hypomobility
Hypermobility is where a joint or multiple joints in the body move more than they are designed to.
Hypomobility is where joints move less than you’d expect and are relatively stiff. Hypermobility can be due to previous injury, overstretching, congenital anomalies or specific conditions that effect the connective tissue (A protein present in muscles and ligaments).
- Previous injury that causes hypermobility would typically be a dislocation, with the shoulder being the most commonly effected area. This damages the ligaments and stability in the shoulder is lost and further dislocation can then happen.
- Overstretching can cause slight hypermobility in the case where someone is already flexible and stretches too regularly that it pushes the joints past the natural amount. This is often commonly associated with a lack of exercise and potentially previous injury or congenital anomalies.
- Congenital anomalies are slight alterations in the structure that we are born with. In the case of hypermobility this is alterations in the bone structure around the joint such as a shallow joint socket such as the hip. This then allows extra movement within the joint.
- Conditions that effect the connective tissue can cause the ligaments and muscles to have more give naturally therefore not stabilising the joint quite as well and providing excessive movement.
Beighton hypermobility scale
There is a simple scale which you can calculate yourself at home to tell if you have gross hypermobility. At the end, you will have a score out of nine. To give you an idea, I am not hypermobile at all and scored 0/9. The Beighton score is calculated as follows:
- You score one point for bending forwards with your legs straight and being able to touch the palm of your hand on the floor.
- One point is scored for each side if your elbow bends backwards passed straight.
- One point is scored for each side if your knee bends backwards passed straight.
- One point is scored for each side if you can touch your thumb to your forearm.
- One point is scored for each side if when you bend your little finger back it goes passed 90 degrees.
If your Beighton score is four or more then it is likely that you have joint hypermobility.
For more information, you can visit the hypermobility syndromes association’s website.
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