What is Joint Hypermobility?
Each of your joints are meant to move in a certain direction with a limit on how far they can move. When you have joint hypermobility, sometimes called loose ligaments, then you are able to move your joints more than most other people can. Joint hypermobility is a common condition, however most people do not experiences problems as a result. If you are experiencing pain or problems as a result of your hypermobility, then this is called “joint hypermobility syndrome”.
What causes Joint Hypermobility
Joint hypermobility is caused by “lax ligaments” which do not hold joints together in their normal range of motion.
If you have generalised joint hypermobility (more motion in many joints in your body), then this is likely an inherited genetic condition. If no family history of joint hypermobility is present, then it may be a currently unknown condition which affects your ligaments.
If you have one hypermobile joint, then this may be related to a previous injury to that area which has weakened the ligaments. It may also be related to an abnormal shape of your bones.
Is my hypermobility affecting my feet?
There are 33 joints that connect the bones in your feet. When walking, these joints would normally move through a certain range of motion to ensure that you are walking effectively and efficiently. If you have hypermobility in the joints of your feet, then these joints may move too much during your walking. This can cause certain muscles to be overworked, or cause you to walk in an abnormal way to ensure that you are able to walk effectively. Over time, these abnormal or excessive movements can lead to development of painful symptoms or even deformity.
Signs of Hypermobility
Changes that may occur as a result of joint hypermobility in the lower limbs include:
- Flat Feet
- In-toed Gait
- Recurring ankle sprains
- Excessive extension or rotation of the knee during gait
- Pain in any joints which are moving through excessive range of motion
Treatment for Joint Hypermobility
Some people have joint hypermobility, but experience no symptoms or problems. If you think you have joint hypermobility, and are experiencing problems in your feet or lower legs, then you may need an assessment from a podiatrist. An assessment investigates which joints are loose, how loose they are, and how this might be causing your issues.
You may then be recommended:
- Appropriate footwear advice
- Custom Orthotic Therapy
- Appropriate exercises to perform