Joint Hypermobility. That is your vocabulary term for the week. Don’t worry, it’s relatively straight forward and there won’t be a test.
Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (JHS) is simply when joints have too much flex and over extend. Also referred to as being double jointed. This is typically caused by too long of tendons and/or ligaments.
A lot of people have this characteristic and do not even realize it can be a problem. Some are even able to use it to their advantage: athletes, dancers, and gymnasts are a few.
I am one of those people. The hypermobile people, NOT an athelete. Or a dancer. Or a gymnast, actually. Anyway, I have always had an extra range of motion in most of my body, but had never thought much of it until I passed it along to my daughter, which is why you are learning this new term.
My 16 month old has JHS and has only begun to crawl within the last month. She has been in physical therapy for several months and it was her therapist who diagnosed her. Thankfully the timing was right and we got in to her pediatrician to get a prescription for braces.
This leads me to point 1 of this post:
On her physical therapists’ advice, S was prescribed Surestep SMO’s. She was measured by an Orthopedist and received them 2 weeks later. After leaving the orthotic office, we went directly to her PT office, and can I tell you? I was BLOWN AWAY at the instant difference!
S walked (with a push toy) farther that she has, EVER. Bonus: she didn’t cry the entire time. She took strong, confident steps and didn’t seem fearful because she finally had the stability her ankles were lacking. I was not expecting to see that difference immediately and was elated.
S was in PT for nearly 3 months before anyone noticed her extra flex. It was simply an observation they made that led to the thumb test (When the wrist is bent so the thumb is made to touch, or almost touch, the forearm. S’s laid flat, as does mine.). Up until then she was presenting as a “stubborn child” who just didn’t want to walk. There was no indication of a physical (or mental) impairment. This is why I mention it.
The thumb test is so easy, I was a little frustrated that it wasn’t part of her original evaluation. Had it been, she would be farther along than she is now, maybe even walking.
If you have a child presenting with no other symptoms, but refusing to walk this may be a mitigating factor for the delay and is worth discussing with your care giver to get their point of view.
The prognosis for JHS is good. As long as children remain active and stay healthy, joint looseness and pain should remain relatively low and with the right training, the child may even find an avenue in which extra joint mobility would be advantageous. There are certain genetic diseases that should be looked at more thoroughly, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, if Joint Hypermobility is indicated but there are several more symptoms that occur in addition to the hypermobility.
On a different note, because this was brought to our attention for Little Sister, and because we know it is heredetary, this diagnosis has opened up a few more discussions about E’s diagnoses, as well as causations for his physical delays. He was never daignosed with JHS, but everyone has known of his hyper extension and low muscle tone. Researching JHS for Little Sister I almost forgot it was for her, not E, because the emotional and physical descriptions were him completely (it’s still too early to tell for her). It all just adds to the beautiful and complex way we were designed.
And, my oh my, is it complex.
For further research into JHS: