What is hypermobility syndrome?

Dr. Jeanne Morrison, PhD
Family Practitioner

Hypermobility syndrome (commonly called being double-jointed) occurs when you have the ability to move your joints past a normal range, which may or may not be accompanied by pain. The hypermobility may allow you to bend your thumb back to your forearm or hyperextend your elbows, for example. More common among children, hypermobility syndrome does decrease with age. Hypermobility syndrome can make you more susceptible to injury, such as dislocations and sprains, and eventually artthritis. In rare cases, hypermobility syndrome can be a feature of a more serious illness, like Marfan syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

When a child or adolescent experiencing chronic joint pain or dislocations visits the doctor, one of the conditions they look for is benign joint hypermobility syndrome or hypermobile ligamentous laxity. But this condition is much more commonly referred to as “double-jointed.”

The signs of this condition are joints that are more flexible than usual and can be extended, sometimes easily and painlessly, beyond the normal range of motion. The condition occurs when the tissues holding the joint together, mainly ligaments, are too loose.

Benign joint hypermobility syndrome is thought to be an inherited connective tissue disorder. Up to 15 percent of children have the condition, which can affect a few joints or every joint in their body.

Continue Learning about Hypermobility Syndrome

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.