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Who gets joint hypermobility?

Some people are more likely than others to have hypermobile joints. The main factors that play a part are:

Genetics

Hypermobility resulting from abnormal collagen or from shallow joint sockets is likely to be inherited. However, we don't yet know whether joint pain linked to hypermobility might be inherited.

Gender

Women are more likely than men to have hypermobile joints.

Age

The collagen fibres in your ligaments tend to bind together more as you get older, which is one reason why many of us become stiffer with age. Hypermobile people who are very flexible and pain-free when younger may find that they’re less flexible when they reach their 30s or 40s and that stretching movements more uncomfortable.

Ethnic background

People of different ethnic backgrounds have differing degrees of mobility in their joints, which may reflect differences in the structure of the collagen proteins. For example, people from the Indian sub-continent often have much more supple hands than Europeans.

Training/exercises

Joint hypermobility can sometimes be developed, for example by gymnasts and athletes, through the training exercises they do. Yoga can also make the joints more supple by stretching the muscles.

Other conditions

Many people with Down’s syndrome are hypermobile. And hypermobility is also a feature of some rarer inherited conditions including osteogenesis imperfect, Marfan syndrome and some types of Ehlers–Danlos syndrome.

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