Jul 16, 2013

Joint Hypermobility in Children

Joint hypermobility is a term used to describe joints that move beyond the expected range. Lots of people in the general population have this flexibility including a large proportion of elite athletes and dancers. It only becomes a problem, and therefore only needs to be treated, when it starts to cause pain.

It is classed as Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome when other causes for the hypermobility have been excluded e.g. childhood arthritis, connective tissue disorders and some genetic syndromes.

In children, there may be a history of delayed walking, clumsiness, flat feet, night pains and intermittent joint swelling. There may also be close relatives who are also very flexible.

Symptoms may include pain in a number of joints/muscle pain, poor balance and co-ordination and altered walking pattern and fatigue. Characteristically symptoms occur at night or following activity and are related to the altered mechanics of the joints. There may also be associated constipation and pelvic floor insufficiency.

Hypermobility itself cannot be “cured” as there are underlying differences in the connective tissue make-up in children with hypermobility, however, Physiotherapy can help to improve the symptoms. A graded intensive exercise programme to strengthen specific muscles will help to provide more stability for the joints and improve the mechanics of movement in order to reduce/eliminate pain.

A Physiotherapist specialising in Paediatrics will be able to carry out a thorough assessment of the child and design an exercise programme to target the specific areas affected. In some cases, it may be recommended to see a Podiatrist to assess walking in more detail and provide inserts into the shoes to improve the walking pattern.

At St Judes we are able to combine the skills and expertise of our Paediatric Physiotherapists and our Podiatrist, when necessary, to ensure individual treatment for your individual needs.

If you would like more information please feel free to contact us on: 01525 377751. We would be pleased to answer any questions you may have.