What is Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS)

About 5% of the population have hypermobile joints – their joints have a range of movement that is greater than normal. This condition by itself is not serious, unless there is an underlying disease. However people with JHS have an increased risk of dislocations, sprains and joint pain.

Statistics on Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS)

Joint hypermobility is common, particularly in children. It is estimated that 10-15% of normal children have hypermobile joints, i.e. joints that can move beyond the normal range of motion. With increasing age, joint hypermobility tends to decrease.

Risk Factors for Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS)

JHS is familial and inherited as a mendelian dominant trait. It is currently suggested that joint hypermobility represents a complex genetic trait with multiple genes contributing to the phenotype and degree of hypermobility. The prevalence of hypermobility varies according to population, probably reflecting ethnic variation (more common in Asian populations). Children are more likely to have joint hypermobility. JHS is a recognised feature of rare inherited conditions such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Marfan syndrome. It has also been linked to conditions such as osteogenesis imperfecta and Down’s syndrome.

Prognosis of Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS)

People with JHS have a normal lifespan, and are usually able to perform normal activities. Depending on the severity of the condition, it can be associated with repeated joint dislocations which lead to joint instability. Later in life, patients may develop premature osteoarthritis.

How is Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) Treated?

Often joint hypermobility causes no symptoms and requires no treatment. Many individuals with the joint hypermobility experience an improvement in their symptoms as they grow older. Treatments for each individual is different based on their particular symptoms. Physiotherapy and a special exercise program are important to strengthen muscles and improve joint stability.

Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) References

[1] Andrew, Herrick, Marsh. Musculoskeletal Medicine and Surgery (2000). Churchill Livingstone, United Kingdom.
[2] Apley, Solomon. Concise System of Orthopaedics and Fractures, 2nd ed. (2001) Arnold, United Kingdom.
[3] Engelbert, Bank, Sakkers, et al. Paediatric Generalized Joint Hypermobility With and Without Musculoskeletal Complaints: A Localized or Systemic Disorder? PEDIATRICS Vol. 111 No. 3 March 2003, pp. e248-e254.
[4] Grahame R. Time to take hypermobility seriously (in adults and children). Rheumatology 2001; 40: 485-487.
[5] Murray, Woo. Benign joint hypermobility in childhood. Rheumatology 2001; 40: 489-491.