Hypermobility in Kids

Do you ever look at your child pushing and bending their bodies into all sorts of weird and wonderful positions and just think “OUCH!” Well, chances are their party tricks are unlikely to be causing them any physical pain at all. Children and adolescents with generalised joint hypermobility (GJH)  have joints which can move beyond the normal limits and into an extra range of movement, much like rubber bands. While joint hypermobility in children is quite common, with the most prevalent cause falling under the banner of benign joint hypermobility, there are other quite rare underlying causes which can be linked to genetic syndromes such as Ehlers Danols Syndrome or Marfans Syndrome. 

Muscle pain, joint instability, recurrent injury and early muscle fatigue can all be signs attributed to joint hypermobility, with the knee and ankle two of the most commonly affected joints. When a joint is subjected to increased and ongoing instability, the surrounding muscles are required to ‘over work’ in an attempt to create stability. However, in doing this the muscles will contract too frequently and at incorrect times within the gait cycle therefore becoming overused and inefficient leading to pain. 

So what can a podiatrist do to help? Firstly, a targeted exercise program is key to improving muscular strength and endurance. The stronger the muscles through your core and lower limbs the higher tolerance to stress they provide therefore decreasing injury frequency and severity. At FNQ Podiatry and Orthotics we use a highly regarded exercise prescription program, Physitrack, which is not only individually customised but has video demonstrations of each exercise to assist kids in complying and completing their exercises correctly.
Secondly, improving lower limb biomechanics and joint alignment through proper footwear and if required, custom foot orthotics has proven to be enormously beneficial in reducing short term pain while long term minimising ongoing joint trauma and muscle overload. 

Our podiatrists are all educated to assess joint hypermobility under the most current guidelines and grading programs to ensure accuracy and consistency in our results and treatment programs.