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Understanding Benign Hypermobility in Children

Welcome to our paediatric physiotherapy blog, where we aim to provide you with valuable insights and guidance on various childhood conditions.

As pediatric physiotherapists, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of various conditions that affect children’s musculoskeletal health. One such condition is benign hypermobility, also known as joint hypermobility syndrome. In this blog, we will explore what benign hypermobility is, its impact on children and how paediatric physiotherapy can play a crucial role in managing this condition.

What is Benign Hypermobility?

Benign hypermobility refers to a condition where children have unusually flexible joints that move beyond the normal range of motion. While this increased joint mobility may seem advantageous, it can lead to a range of challenges and symptoms for affected children. It is important to differentiate benign hypermobility from more serious connective tissue disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Marfan syndrome which require specialized medical attention.

Symptoms and Challenges:

Children with benign hypermobility may experience a variety of symptoms and challenges, including:

  • Joint pain and discomfort: Increased joint mobility can lead to muscle fatigue, joint instability and pain, particularly during physical activity or prolonged periods of inactivity.
 
  • Reduced strength and coordination: The laxity in joints can affect muscle strength and coordination, making certain movements more difficult for children.
 
  • Risk of injury: The flexibility of joints can increase the susceptibility to injuries such as sprains, strains and dislocations.
 
  • Fatigue and reduced stamina: The effort required to stabilize their joints can lead to increased fatigue and reduced endurance in physical activities.
The Role of Paediatric Physiotherapy:

Paediatric physiotherapists play a vital role in managing benign hypermobility in children. They can provide interventions and strategies to address the challenges associated with this condition. Here are some ways in which physiotherapy can help:

  • Strength and stability training: Physiotherapists can design tailored exercise programs to improve muscle strength, balance, and joint stability. These exercises aim to support and protect the joints during movement.
 
  • Joint protection strategies: Educating both children and their parents about joint protection techniques can help minimize the risk of injuries. This may include teaching proper body mechanics, alignment, and appropriate footwear choices.
 
  • Posture and body awareness: Physiotherapists can guide children in developing proper posture and body awareness, which can reduce joint stress and improve overall alignment.
 
  • Pain management: Through various modalities, physiotherapists can teach children pain management techniques, such as heat or cold therapy, gentle stretching, and relaxation exercises.
 
  • Activity modification: Paediatric physiotherapists can help children modify activities or sports to accommodate their hypermobility, ensuring they can participate safely and enjoyably.
Conclusion:

Benign hypermobility in children may present unique challenges that require an interdisciplinary approach to management. Paediatric physiotherapy plays a crucial role in addressing the symptoms and difficulties associated with this condition. By focusing on strength and stability training, joint protection, posture correction, pain management, and activity modification, physiotherapists can support children in maximizing their physical potential and improving their overall quality of life.

If you suspect your child has benign hypermobility, it is always recommended to consult with a paediatric physiotherapist who can provide a thorough assessment and develop an individualized treatment plan. Remember, by working together, we can help children thrive despite the challenges posed by benign hypermobility.

Disclaimer: This blog is intended for informational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with a qualified healthcare provider for a proper diagnosis and personalized treatment plan.

Melissa Locke, Consultant Physiotherapist


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