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Joint Hypermobility In Kids: To Treat or Not to Treat? That is the Question

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Joint Hypermobility In Kids: To Treat or Not to Treat? That is the Question

Jane Lawler

Joint hypermobility in young children is a condition that is gaining more and more attention. Chances are if you are reading this article in search of what to do for your child who has been told they are hypermobile, you are possibly the reason they have it and didn’t even realise.
 
Hypermobility relates to joints that easily move beyond the normal range expected for a particular joint. It is estimated that 10%-15% of normal children have hypermobile joints. Hypermobility is often referred to as ‘loose or floppy joints, ligamentous laxity or double-jointed.’ Often it may have been the source of a party trick or two in the past and kids usually love showing off what they can do!
 
Often joint hypermobility is silent and does not cause any symptoms at all and requires no formal treatment. If your child does have pain in their feet, legs, hips or knees on a regular basis associated with activity, they may benefit from some form of treatment. Often the symptoms are dismissed as ‘growing pains’ but it’s important to have a proper assessment to see if symptoms are in fact related to joint hypermobility.
 
Let’s use the analogy of a set of tyres on a car. If the tyres are not pumped up to the right pressure, balanced and aligned, you will still get to your destination, but you will have a rough ride, struggle to keep the car going in a straight line and likely use more fuel as the car won’t be as efficient. Think of your feet as those tyres.
 
Joint hypermobility syndrome is considered a benign condition and is hereditary in nature (passed on from parents to their children). Joint hypermobility is also a feature seen in some more rare and potentially serious connective tissue disorders such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Marfan’s syndrome.
 
Exercises to improve calf strength and balance is very important. Orthotics and supportive footwear may also be indicated as they can assist in reducing the likelihood of developing foot, knee, hip and lower back pain as your child gets older.