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Why is My Child So Flexible/Hypermobile?

Updated: Feb 19, 2020

Being extremely flexible and having pain associated with this flexibility could indicate that your child is hypermobile. Joint hypermobility can differ between individuals depending on their genes, age and race. When we are babies we are very flexible–which is perfectly normal–and this flexibility usually reduces as we age. Some children as are also "double-jointed" but if there is no pain associated with this, then there is no issue. However, when there is pain in the joints due to too much flexibility then your child could have what is called hypermobility syndrome.

What causes hypermobility?

Hypermobility occurs due to four major factors including:

  • Stretched ligaments due to an imbalance in protein fibres.

  • The shape of your bones.

  • Muscle strength/tone.

  • Knowing where your joint is in space (proprioception).

What are the symptoms of hypermobility syndrome?

  • Back pain

  • Flat feet

  • Weakness in the ankles

  • Headaches

  • Chest pain

  • Falling down a lot

What can I do to help my child?

The primary goals with hypermobility are to strengthen, stabilise and support the body. Regular exercise is a must in order to strengthen the muscles around the joints. However, some activities or sports can aggravate the condition or lead to injuries. Examples include ballet, gymnastics and netball. Also, ensure that your child wears good supportive shoes, especially ones that support the ankles. Orthotics may also be required in some cases. Other measures such as cold and heat packs, pain medications and anti-inflammatory drugs can provide short term relief.

For a thorough assessment and specific advice, book in and see us. Our podiatrists and exercise physiologist can work together to help with symptoms and manage hypermobility in the long term.

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