Hypermobility Syndrome, AKA Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS), Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type (EDS-HT), Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders (HSD)

July 24, 2015

Joint hypermobility and Sports

Did you know that Sania Mirza has hypermobility of her wrist joints?

Not Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS), but hypermobility of joints (JHM).
JHM is not a disease. It is often seen in athletes, dancers and yoga professionals. It can even provide an advantage to athletes. It can also lead to more injuries.

Most children who have JHM do not go on to be diagnosed with JHS. However, if their JHM is causing joint pain or injuries (see this paper*) the child should receive a specific management strategy. However, simply the incidental presence of JHM does not mean the child should stop sport activities. Good posture and gait training is always valuable. So are swimming and other core strengthening exercises. In fact a child should be encouraged to stay active to increase muscle flexibility (not joint, muscle flexibility!) and strength.

Advice the child with JHM not to show off their hypermobility by doing "tricks". They should also avoid obesity. They should be advised not to sit in W position.

If your child has been diagnosed with any kind or degree of hypermobility of joints, see this excellent article:
Joint hypermobility in children: what is it and how it affects fitness and motor skills 

Read more about management for hypermobile children here:
Hypermobile: Musculoskeletal conditions - The hypermobile child

In case of H-EDS/JHS, specific training program and advice required to prevent injuries and strengthen muscles. Contact sports may be avoided. See detailed information for a child with JHS here: http://hypermobility.org/help-advice/physio-and-occupational-therapy/flexible-kids/

If someone has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility type(H-EDS) /JHS, they require a more comprehensive approach for effective pain and health management, prevention of disability and maintenance of quality of life. Do not let anyone tell you that it is nothing and is only "benign".

However, JHM is not the same as JHS/H-EDS. A hypermobile joint can be prone to injury, and in case of widespread hypermobility, the child will have many other problems which need to be addressed by more than just pain medication. It is good to consult a rheumatologist for reassessment as advised. If your child has only JHM, it can be managed well enough to not cause any serious problems in the long run.

Let your child stay active, stay strong, and stay "smart" fit!
*Shanmugapriya, V., et al. "A ‘benign’condition masquerading as arthritis." BMJ case reports 2013 (2013): bcr2013010518.