Hypermobility - How to manage it

Hypermobility is a term that gets banded around quite feely, and there are numerus conditions that encompass this syndrome. Hypermobility Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (hEDS) and hypermobility spectrum disorder (HSD) are two conditions that fall under the hypermobility bracket. HEDS is a genetic disorder which is characterised by generalised joint hypermobility, soft tissue fragility, and joint subluxations and pain. HSD also has generalised joint hypermobility, but less signs of tissue fragility. Tissue fragility includes organ prolapse, velvety skin, heart valve problems etc.

There has been uncertainty into whether there is cross over in symptoms, including muscle strength and endurance. A recent study looked into whether there is a difference between hEDS and HSD which would affect management. It was discovered that both hEDS and HSD are characterised by decreased muscle strength, muscle mass, muscle density and physical impairment, which leads to further joint instability, fatigue and pain. Treatment and management for hEDS and HSD should therefore be focused on both maximal muscle strength and muscle strength endurance in the upper and lower limbs, and this should be specific through individualised programmes to meet each patient's needs.

Coussens, M. et al. (2021) Muscle strength, muscle mass and physical impairment in women with hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and hypermobility spectrum disorder. Journal of Musculoskeletal and Neuronal Interactions. 1-10.