Symptoms of joint hypermobility 

Many people with joint hypermobility have few or no problems related to their increased range of movement.

Being hypermobile does not necessarily mean you will have any pain or difficulty. If you have symptoms, it is likely that you have joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS).

Symptoms of joint hypermobility syndrome

JHS can cause a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • pain and stiffness in the joints and muscles – particularly towards the end of the day and after physical activity
  • clicking joints
  • back pain and neck pain 
  • fatigue (extreme tiredness)
  • night pains – which can disrupt your sleep
  • poor co-ordination
  • recurrent joint dislocations – such as a dislocated shoulder
  • recurrent soft tissue injuries – such as sprains and sports injuries

A person with JHS may also have a number of other symptoms related to weaknesses in the connective tissues throughout their body. Some of these symptoms are described below.

Digestive system problems

JHS can cause symptoms that affect your digestive system, because the muscles that squeeze food through your digestive system can weaken.

This can cause a range of problems, including:

Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS) 

JHS can also cause abnormalities in the part of your nervous system that controls bodily functions you do not actively think about, such as the beating of your heart. This is known as your autonomic nervous system.

These abnormalities can cause problems when you stand up or sit in the same position for a while. Your blood pressure can drop to low levels, making you feel sick, dizzy and sweaty. You may also faint.

In some people, these abnormalities can lead to postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS). POTS causes your pulse rate to increase rapidly within a few minutes of standing up. You may also experience:

  • dizziness or fainting
  • headaches
  • tummy upsets
  • sweating
  • a sensation of anxiety
  • purple puffy fingers and feet
  • a pounding or fluttering heart beat (heart palpitations)

Other problems

People with JHS may have other related conditions and further symptoms, including:

  • stress incontinence – a type of urinary incontinence that occurs because the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to prevent accidental urination
  • hernias – where an internal part of the body, such as an organ, pushes through a weakness in the muscle or surrounding tissue wall
  • in women, pelvic organ prolapse – where the organs inside the pelvis slip down from their normal position
  • varicose veins – swollen and enlarged veins, usually blue or dark purple
  • flat feet – where the inner part of your feet (the arch) is not raised off the ground when you stand
  • headaches
  • drooping eyelids
  • a tendency to bruise easily and develop stretch marks
  • thin or stretchy skin

Although a link is not entirely certain, it is thought that some people with JHS may be at an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis earlier in life than usual.

Page last reviewed: 18/09/2014

Next review due: 18/09/2016