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Hypermobile joints


You know in yoga class, when that person (the one who’s also brave enough to sit right in front of the mirror) lifts their leg over their head and makes it look so. dang. easy? That might not be just gymnast-level “flexibility”; it could actually be due to something called hypermobile joints. That's where you're able to extend your limbs beyond a normal range of motion. Typically, this is possible because the tissues holding your joints together are too loose, or your muscles are weak. This symptom becomes a problem when it’s accompanied by pain, fatigue, and GI issues. Some people are born with hypermobile joints, while others develop them due to conditions like Ehlers–Danlos Syndrome or joint hypermobility syndrome, a connective tissue disease characterized by joint instability, chronic pain, and minor skin changes (like velvety skin and easy bruising). Hypermobile joints also present themselves with other conditions, including panic and anxiety disorders, IBS, fibromyalgia, and chronic fatigue. So, how do you know if you should see a practitioner for your hypermobile joints? If you were born that way and feel totally fine, you probably are—so get back on your yoga mat and keep rocking that lotus pose. If it’s a new or worsening issue, or if your loose joints are accompanied by any of the physical or neurological symptoms mentioned above, talk to your practitioner right away. They can help you get to the root of what’s going on. Managing hypermobile joints is mostly about learning how to prevent injury and stabilizing the joints through strength-building programs, stretching, and interventions like taping and bracing individual joints. Supplements have been proposed, like Vitamin C (for the skin features) and Vitamin D (to improve bone density), but studies are lacking to support those uses in joint hypermobility syndrome.

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