Hypermobility in children is dangerous ……
Causing pain and ultimately joint replacement in later years.
As a child do you remember either being clumsy or being called clumsy? Were you last to be picked to be on a team? Did you sit on the bench once you were chosen? Did you find it hard to balance on one foot? Did you run into walls or fall down stairs on a regular basis? Or maybe you remember watching these clumsy kids thinking about how uncoordinated they were.
Hypermobility was first clinically described by Hippocrates in the 4th Century. He described Hypermobility as flabbiness and an inability to draw a bow due to unstable shoulders, elbows, and a weak core.
Hypermobility has more recently been defined as the ability of a person to move their joints in extreme and unusual manner. We see these people in the Cirque du Soleil acts and circus acts. These flexible people are often dancers, ballet dancers or gymnasts. They usually have a smooth and fluid movement once they have mastered movement and learned to strengthen and control their joints with intentional precise movement.
What about the rest of the Hypermobility people? Instability follows you, continually falling, chronic knee pain, joint pain or shoulders regularly going in and out. Hypermobility is a genetic condition that affects the collagen that is abundant in joints, tendon skin and in the gut which surprisingly can compromise your digestion.
Effects of Hypermobility.
I have observed two types of people in my 20 plus years of manual therapy. People with what I call loose ligaments and people with tight fascia or connective tissue. People with loose ligaments or hypermobile people often don’t seek me out as they are already flexible; they seek treatment when they are injured and when they want to learn how to stretch their muscles and not their joints.
This flexibility of joints or hypermobility leads to joint replacement in knees, hips and continual shoulder injury in adults. In children what I have noticed they are easily fatigued, may have learning disabilities, appear lazy, continually falling and hurting themselves, delayed motor development, digestion issues and often loose skin.
A general test to have your doctor or therapist check is to see if your child has 4 or more Hypermobile joints. If so, they are Hypermobile. Parents need to be aware that sitting in a “W” is dangerous to the knee joint and should be continually corrected and stopped. Hypermobile children need to focus on strengthening their core muscles and need to practice balance. They need to move with purpose and intention engaging muscles not joints to perform movements.
I had the opportunity to attend an appointment of a Hypermobile child with a medical doctor, a pediatrician, who missed the diagnosis of Hypermobility. In fact, she did not know how to test the child at all. The doctor dismissed the symptoms of continual falling, clumsiness, lack of energy.
The child age 4 could not hop on both feet for more than 2 hops without collapsing onto the floor, the child could not stand on one foot for longer than half a second, but the MD said that she thought that was normal. I did not believe it was normal.
The Doctor did realize that it was not her area of expertise and referred to child physiotherapist. The child’s diagnosis was- Hypermobility by the child physiotherapist.
Exercises are imperative for the child to have a healthy balanced body. Can your child balance on one foot even at age 3 or 4, they should be able to do this for at least 10 to 20 seconds. If your child has difficulty balancing they need additional exercise that could positively change their lives and save their joints later in life.
Discover Brain Gym which will help with balance and brain function. These children need gait education, continual physical activity; focusing on balance and muscle work, work on a wobble board. “Cross Crawl” exercises for both adults and children.
Most importantly let your child play outside and inside.
Stay off the iPad.
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