Significance of increased joint mobility

What is the significance of increased joint mobility? How do you diagnose it?

Hyperflexible joints are common and do not necessarily indicate that someone has HCTD. Joint hypermobility decreases with age. Some studies suggest that 10% to 25% of the population may have hyperflexible joints, with 5% of people with hypermobility having symptoms. Symptoms from increased joint mobility can range from arthralgias to dislocation or injury. The diagnosis of EDS should be considered in patients with severe hypermobility and recurrent dislocations.

The Beighton score for joint laxity and hypermobility uses a simple nine-point system. A score of ≥5 indicates hypermobility on examination:

  • 1. Hyperextension of the knee more than 10 degrees past 180 degrees. One point for each knee.
  • 2. Hyperextension of the elbow more than 10 degrees past 180 degrees. One point for each elbow.
  • 3. Passive opposition of the thumb to the flexor aspect of the forearm. One point for each thumb. (see Fig. 55-1 ).
  • 4. Passive extension of the little (fifth) finger beyond 90 degrees with the forearm flat on the table. One point for each little finger.
  • 5. Forward trunk flexion (knees fully extended) so that the palms of the hands can be placed flat on the ground. One point.

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