Signs and Symptoms of joint hypermobility

Joint hypermobility
Joint hypermobility

Symptoms of joint hypermobility

Many people with joint hypermobility have few or no problems related to their increased range of movement.

Being hypermobile does not necessarily mean you will have any pain or difficulty. If you have symptoms, it is likely that you have joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS).

Symptoms of joint hypermobility syndrome

JHS can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:

pain and stiffness in the joints and muscles – particularly towards the end of the day and after physical activity

clicking joints

back pain and neck pain

fatigue (extreme tiredness)

night pains – which can disrupt your sleep

poor co-ordination

recurrent joint dislocations – such as a dislocated shoulder

recurrent soft tissue injuries – such as sprains and sports injuries

A person with JHS may also have a number of other symptoms related to weaknesses in the connective tissues throughout their body. Some of these symptoms are described below.

Digestive system problems

JHS can cause symptoms that affect your digestive system, because the muscles that squeeze food through your digestive system can weaken.

This can cause a range of problems, including:

gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GORD) – where stomach acid leaks from your stomach to your gullet, causing symptoms such as heartburn

gastroparesis – where the stomach has difficulty emptying its contents into the small bowel, which can cause bloating and nausea

constipation

irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – a disorder that affects the digestive system, causing tummy pain, diarrhoea and constipation

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)

JHS can also cause abnormalities in the part of your nervous system that controls bodily functions you do not actively think about, such as the beating of your heart. This is known as your autonomic nervous system.

These abnormalities can cause problems when you stand up or sit in the same position for a while. Your blood pressure can drop to low levels, making you feel sick, dizzy and sweaty. You may also faint.

In some people, these abnormalities can lead to postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). POTS causes your pulse rate to increase rapidly within a few minutes of standing up. You may also experience:

dizziness or fainting

headaches

tummy upsets

sweating

a sensation of anxiety

purple puffy fingers and feet

a pounding or fluttering heart beat (heart palpitations)

Other problems

People with JHS may have other related conditions and further symptoms, including:

stress incontinence – a type of urinary incontinence that occurs because the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to prevent accidental urination

hernias – where an internal part of the body, such as an organ, pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall

in women, pelvic organ prolapse – where the organs inside the pelvis slip down from their normal position

varicose veins – swollen and enlarged veins, usually blue or dark purple

flat feet – where the inner part of your feet (the arch) is not raised off the ground when you stand

headaches

drooping eyelids

a tendency to bruise easily and develop stretch marks

thin or stretchy skin

Although a link is not entirely certain, it is thought that some people with JHS may be at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis earlier in life than usual.

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