The Basics Of Hypermobility6 min read


The new year is upon us, and all the opportunities, joys, and challenges are ready to surprise us. 

These have been a hard couple of years with everything going on. However, here we are, showing up and taking all good things – and not so good – about life. 

January is a great month to go back to basics. This is a month where everyone sets expectations and plans the year. 

This blog post will discuss the basic concepts of Hypermobility, those you need to keep in mind for the rest of the year if you want to make 2022 a pain-controlled year. 


Keep reading to go back to basics.


Do I Have Hypermobility?


The first basic concept to understand is identifying if you have Hypermobility. There are many ways to know, including seeing a professional. For general screening, you can ask yourself the following questions.

  • Can you bend your little finger backward beyond 90 degrees?
  • Can your thumb reach your forearm?
  • Straighten your arm. Does your elbow hyperextend 10 degrees or more?
  • Straighten your leg. Do your knees bend backward?
  • Reach forward and touch the floor. Can you place your hands flat on the floor without bending your knees?

If most of the answers to these questions are “yes,” it would be good to get a professional to examine you.

Book an appointment at the Great Divide clinic.


Hypermobility & Fatigue


Hypermobility is much more than just joint pain. Like any other chronic condition, it can be tiring to live with it, bringing a lot of fatigue.

Often, there is a quantity issue; it is related to the number of things you need to do in your daily life. I like to explain pain and fatigue with the bucket analogy.

Your bucket can be filled up with physical activity, financial stress, emotional stress, allergies, illness, temperature, and more. How big this bucket is, depends on your overall health.

Each bucket is different, and it is essential to understand that when your bucket starts to overflow, it doesn’t matter what made it overflow. It can be a walk or even a tough conversation.

We tend to figure out what happened that made our bucket overflow; however, it doesn’t take a lot to start bubbling over when it is already full.

The idea is to work on emptying that bucket – maybe with mediation, mindfulness, or even a hot bath.

Physical activity can help increase the size of the bucket, but if you are already on edge, you have to be careful about quantity. This is why one day you can do a 30-minute walk and feel great and the next day to a 10-minute walk and feel bad.


Basic Exercises for Hypermobility


It’s important to incorporate daily exercises for Hypermobility. These should be daily exercises in a controlled way that covers several essential muscle groups.

While you can do more, start with good control of these muscles. These exercises require minimal equipment and allow you to focus on finding the right muscles and getting them working.

Check out the exercises here.


Hypermobility & Skin Signs


Skin signs are one of the most common clues about the possible presence of Hypermobility. They usually come as easy bruising, problems scarring, skin hyperlaxity, and a significant number of stretchmarks even at a very early age.

This is because of structural proteins produced, the most common being collagen, fibrillin, and fibronectin.

These are not as tightly knit together as usual. They are also genetically determined, and that’s why they don’t react to injections of collagen or other medical interventions.

It is imperative to have general skincare, such as avoiding trauma and allowing wounds to heal.


Hypermobility & Joint Popping


Is it wrong to pop your joints? The short answer is yes.

The long answer is that it feels better to pop your joints because of a bit of endorphin release. It gives you more movement in that place and alleviates the pain.

However, this only happens for 20 minutes, and then you have to do it again and again. Popping causes joint Hypermobility, which makes the condition worse.

With self-manipulation, you cannot control where that movement is going and will go to the weakest link, which you shouldn’t be moving. For manipulation, it is better to see a chiropractor or a PT.

It also becomes a habit, and you end up popping things without even noticing. Try to cut back self-manipulation by 50% and get rid of the absent-minded ones.

Try to get to a point where you do it when you absolutely need to.


Pain Management


Sadly, Hypermobility does come with a lot of pain in some cases, but there are ways to handle it and make it better.

The first thing I tell my patients is to stop doing what’s not helping. Stop popping your joints & overstretching. Instead, lie down and get the weight off the joint. Heat can help and also support the joint. You can also use topicals such a Biofreeze and Arnica.


Hypermobility Misconceptions


Hypermobility is not rare. However, many people (including doctors) are still not well-versed with this chronic condition.

This can cause assumptions that are wrong and very inconsiderate to those living with Hypermobility. I’ve had my share of encounters with people who know what Hypermobility is and cannot be farthest from the truth.

Hypermobility is not just “being flexible.” It is a complex condition with various comorbidities which can affect someone’s quality of life.

These are the most common ones to look out to and explain to those who don’t understand them:


  • When they say: Hypermobility has the same symptoms for everyone.
  • You say: Hypermobility can be very different for different persons; it is very personal.
  • When they say: Hypermobility isn’t real.
  • You say: Hypermobility is more than real, and it affects many people.
  • When they say: If you use a mobility aid one day but not the next, you must be “faking.”
  • You say: As with many chronic illnesses, symptoms can change day to day.
  • When they say: You’re young, so you can’t be in that much pain.
  • You say: Pain does not discriminate by age. Even young people who look healthy may experience extremely high levels of pain.


How to Stop Using your Extra Range


Your extra range is that additional extension your joints can do. This hyperextension may be fun at parties. However, it is not fun when you get home, and the flare-up starts. It is vital to learn how to stop using your extra range.

Check out this video on how to.

These are some of the most important concepts to keep in mind this 2022 to have a pain-controlled year. 

Considering these basics throughout the year, we will be aware and conscious of how to help ourselves ease our symptoms and keep our brain and emotions protected at the same time. 

Do you have questions or concerns?

Comment below!

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About Kate

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Kate Skinner is a Doctor in Physical Therapy, co-founder of Great Divide Physical Therapy, and creator of Hypermobility Solution.

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