Are you worried you are Hypermobile?
Hypermobility is estimated to affect between 10-20% of the total population. It occurs on a sliding scale from mild hypermobility to advanced, clinical hypermobility. It is measured with the Beighton Score.
The Beighton Score is a simple scale of 0-9 based on 5 different tests. A point is given for each joint that is hypermobile. The joints and movements tested are:
- Little finger extension x 2
- Thumb extension x2
- Elbow elbow extension x2
- Knee extension x2
- Hamstrings x1
Studies on the prevalence of generalised Hypermobility
A large study conducted in the UK on 6000 children in 2011 found that 27% of girls and 10% of boys aged 13 had some form of hypermobility (a score of >3 on the Beighton Score).
Another study, this time on American College students in 2019, found 12.5% of the student population scored >4.
Clinical Hypermobility (a score >7) is rare and commonly only occurs in those with Ehlers Danlos syndrome which affects about 1 in every 5000. You can find out more about Ehlers Danlos here.
What can I do if I am Hypermobile?
Fortunately, there has not been any evidence to date that those with hypermobility are more likely to suffer an injury. There is, however, evidence that when those with hypermobility do suffer an injury, the severity can be worse.
It therefore makes sense to choose sports where severe injury, such a joint dislocations and fractures, are less common, which might involve avoiding contact sports.
There is emerging evidence that heavy strength training may play a protective role for joint hypermobility, so a well-programmed weight training program may be of benefit.