Hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

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Hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) are complex conditions that can significantly impact an individual’s quality of life. As a physical therapist, I have encountered many patients grappling with the challenges posed by hypermobility and EDS, which affect connective tissue and can lead to joint instability, chronic pain, and functional limitations. I also have personal experience as I have hypermobility myself. In this blog, we’ll explore these conditions from a physical therapist’s perspective, discussing their characteristics, common symptoms, and the role of physical therapy in managing and improving outcomes for individuals living with hypermobility and EDS.

Understanding Hypermobility and EDS

Hypermobility refers to an increased range of motion in one or more joints beyond what is considered normal for a particular individual. While some people may have hypermobility without experiencing any adverse effects, others may develop symptoms such as joint instability, recurrent dislocations, and musculoskeletal pain. EDS is a group of hereditary connective tissue disorders characterized by joint hypermobility, skin hyperextensibility, and tissue fragility. There are several subtypes of EDS, each with its own distinct features and genetic causes.

Common Symptoms

Individuals with hypermobility and EDS may experience various symptoms and challenges that can affect various aspects of their daily lives. These may include:

  • Joint Instability: Loose ligaments and weak connective tissue can lead to joint instability, increasing the risk of dislocations and subluxations.
  • Chronic Pain: Musculoskeletal pain, often described as dull or achy, is a common complaint among individuals with hypermobility and EDS, affecting mobility and overall well-being.
  • Fatigue: Dealing with chronic pain and joint instability can be physically and emotionally exhausting, leading to fatigue and decreased stamina.
  • Hypermobility-Related Injuries: Frequent joint dislocations, sprains, and other injuries are common in individuals with hypermobility and EDS, requiring careful management and rehabilitation.
  • Psychological Impact: Living with chronic pain and physical limitations can take a toll on mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, and feelings of frustration or isolation.

Physical Therapy for hypermobility and EDS

Physical therapy plays a crucial role in managing hypermobility and EDS, focusing on improving strength, stability, and functional mobility while minimizing pain and preventing injuries. A comprehensive physical therapy program may include:

  • Strength Training: Targeted exercises to strengthen the muscles surrounding unstable joints can help improve joint stability and reduce the risk of dislocations.
  • Joint Protection Techniques: Education on proper body mechanics and joint protection strategies can help individuals with hypermobility and EDS minimize the risk of injury during daily activities.
  • Manual Therapy: Hands-on techniques such as soft tissue mobilization, and myofascial release can help alleviate pain, improve joint mobility, and address tissue restrictions.
  • Activity Modification: Guidance on modifying activities and implementing adaptive equipment or assistive devices can help individuals with hypermobility and EDS participate in activities safely and comfortably.


Hypermobility and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome present unique challenges that require a multidisciplinary approach to management and care. As a physical therapist, I am committed to helping individuals with these conditions improve their quality of life, regain function, and achieve their goals through tailored rehabilitation programs and compassionate support. By empowering patients with education, therapeutic interventions, and ongoing guidance, we can navigate the complexities of hypermobility and EDS together, fostering resilience and promoting holistic well-being.

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