Hypermobility is a description of joint movement. Hyper means ‘more’ and mobility means ‘movement’. Ligaments offer stability to joints and in hypermobility, ligaments are lax and joints have more flexibility.
It is not an illness or a disease, just the way someone is put together. It is considered a normal condition by medical professionals.
Studies have shown that up to 71% of children under 8 and 55% of 4–14 year olds are hypermobile.
For the vast majority of children, hypermobility is not problematic. Children may have an awkward grip but be able to write within acceptable limits and manage to keep up with their peers. In fact, hypermobility is beneficial in the performance areas of ballet, some martial arts, and gymnastics. Individuals who are successful at these performance areas have very good control of their muscles around their lax joints.
As a child develops and becomes more active, hypermobile joints generally become stronger. Coordination may improve and the child should be less tired.
However, if you are concerned that hypermobility is causing real difficulties for a child including pain and or affecting function, please ask their parents to take them to the GP who can arrange for the appropriate assessments to take place with a paediatrician or rheumatologist to check for any underlying medical cause.