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Hypermobile joints

Joint hypermobility; Loose joints; Hypermobility syndrome

Hypermobile joints are joints that move beyond the normal range with little effort. Joints most commonly affected are the elbows, wrists, fingers, and knees.

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Hypermobile joints

Considerations

Children's joints are often more flexible than adults' joints. But children 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.

Causes

Hypermobile joints often occur in otherwise healthy and normal children. This is called benign hypermobility syndrome.

Rare medical conditions associated with hypermobile joints include:

Home Care

There is no specific care for this condition. People 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.

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call your provider if:

What to Expect at Your Office Visit

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 your muscles and bones.

The provider will ask about the symptoms, including:

Further tests may be done.

References

Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW. Musculoskeletal system. In: Ball JW, Dains JE, Flynn JA, Solomon BS, Stewart RW, eds. Seidel's Guide to Physical Examination. 9th ed. St Louis, MO: Elsevier; 2019:chap 22.

Clinch J, Rogers V. Hypermobility syndrome. In: Hochberg MC, Gravallese EM, Silman AJ, Smolen JS, Weinblatt ME, Weisman MH, eds. Rheumatology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2019:chap 216.

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Review Date: 10/2/2020  

Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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