Our friends Andrea and Isabelle over at Brave Kids Physio cover all things Hypermobility!
Joints that move beyond what is typically expected for the child’s age are considered hypermobile. These children are often referred to as bendy, lose or double-jointed. Hypermobility can present on its own, called Benign joint hypermobility syndrome (BJHS), or as a connective tissue disorder such as Marfan syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS).
Children with hypermobility can have symptoms such as:
* Pain in joints or muscles
* Increased risk of soft tissue injury
* Recurrent joint subluxations or dislocations
* Delayed motor skills
* Difficulty with balance and coordination
Some children with hypermobility can grow out of these symptoms while others have persistent signs into adulthood. Your physiotherapist and occupational therapist will be able to assess if your child has hypermobility and can help by:
* Strengthening exercises to support flexible joints and reduce risk of injury
* Advise appropriate sport and exercise
* Pain and fatigue management strategies
* Develop gross and fine motor skills
* Orthotics, splints and braces
Sometimes exercise can be challenging in children with hypermobility due to increased fatigue and pain. Exercise is one of the best managements of hypermobility and therefore avoiding or reducing exercise can actually lead to additional health issues. Your physio and OT can help work out what form of exercise is best for you. Participating in regular exercise can help with:
* Reducing fatigue and improving endurance
* Managing weight
*Increasing strength and fitness
*Stress and anxiety management
So, how can you exercise with hypermobility? Here are Brave Kids Physio’s 3 favourite forms of exercise for children with hypermobility:
- Hydrotherapy: exercise in the pool is low impact and takes the pressure off sore and tired joints. Kids who love the water often can do more intense physical activity for longer durations in the pool.
- Gym ball: exercising on a ball is fun! It is also a great way to challenge core and stability muscles as well as increasing body awareness and proprioception.
- Pilates: kids Pilates is a fun and low impact way to safely strengthen muscles without overloading ligaments and joints.
If your child has hypermobility, chat to your OT at Kids’ Space OT or physio at Brave Kids Physio for more information on how we can help!
Brave Kids Physio