Have you ever wondered if you are hypermobile?
Here’s a way to test the range of movement in some of your joints:
You can test your mobility using the Beighton Hypermobility Score. It is a simple 9 point system where the higher the score the higher the mobility.
Why not test yourself?
(Take care – do not hurt yourself attempting these. Please do not try this if you’ve had a recent surgery, dislocation or diagnosed rheumatism).
Try each of these – for every one you can do give yourself 1 point.
1. Pull your little finger back beyond 90° (one point for each side)
2. Pull your thumb back to touch your forearm (one point for each side)
3. Bend your elbow backwards beyond 10° (one point for each side)
4. Bend your knee backwards beyond 10° (one point for each side)
5. Place your hands flat on the floor whilst bending forward from the waist and keeping the knees straight.
Image source: The Ehlers Danlos Society
What does my score mean?
The majority of people will have a score of 4 or less. A lower score means you are less likely to suffer from joint pain, ligament sprains or joint dislocations.
A score of 5 or more indicates higher joint laxity and therefore increased risk of dislocations, sprains and joint pain.
If you have other symptoms (e.g. digestive problems, fatigue) in addition to a high Beighton score then your GP may want to carry out further assessments to see if your joint laxity is linked to ‘joint hypermobility syndrome’.
‘Joint hypermobility syndrome’ is an inherited connective tissue disorder. Collagen, a protein found in connective tissue that gives ligaments their strength, is affected meaning the connective tissue is looser and stretchier and the joints therefore lax.
What can be done about my hypermobile joints?
In many cases joints become stiffer with age.
If you have joint hypermobility that doesn’t cause any problems then treatment isn’t necessary.
However, if you have joint hypermobility and are experiencing symptoms including pain or soft tissue injuries, treatment may be indicated.
Osteopathy can help to reduce pain, improve posture and correct the movement of individual joints. A strengthening exercise program will also help to provide support and stability to the joints.
Those diagnosed with a connective tissue disorder should already be under the care of their GP but may also find a strengthening program beneficial.