Hypermobility and the hypermobility syndrome
Keer, Rosemary J.
Hypermobile joints by definition display a range of movement that is considered excessive, taking into consideration the age, gender and ethnic background of the individual. Joint hypermobility, when associated with symptoms is termed the joint hypermobility syndrome or hypermobility syndrome (JHS). JHS is an under recognised and poorly managed multi-systemic, hereditary connective tissue disorder, often resulting in a great deal of pain and suffering. The condition is more prevalent in females. with symptoms frequently commencing in childhood and continuing on into adult life. This paper provides an overview of JHS and suggested clinical guidelines for both the identification and management of the condition, based on research evidence and clinical experience. The Brighton Criteria and a simple 5-point questionnaire developed by Hakim and Grahame, are both valid tools that can be used clinically and for research to identify the condition. Management of JHS frequently includes; education and lifestyle advice, behaviour modification, manual therapy, taping and bracing, electrotherapy, exercise prescription, functional rehabilitation and collaborative working with a range of medical, health and fitness professionals. Progress is often slow and hampered by physical and emotional setbacks. However with a carefully considered management strategy, amelioration of symptoms and independent functional fitness can be achieved.