CARTOON! In Which I Come Unhinged Again
I have severe Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (sometimes colloquially referred to as “double-jointedness”), which make the osteoarthritis a bit more problematic. Back in the US, I had no diagnosis of what sort of problem this is, aside from the doctor saying that “Yes, you’re hypermobile.” (Well, duh.) That was back before the ACA “Obamacare”, when insurance companies could refuse to cover you for Pre-Existing Conditions, and one reason my doc didn’t pursue a diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos was that I would get kicked off my insurance plan.
Now that I’m living in England, I’m awaiting echocardiogram and visit with a geneticist to check for Ehlers-Danlos. Amazing.
Links: Ehlers-Danlos Support UK The Ehlers-Danlos Society
But for most of my life — and at the risk of sounding odd, I didn’t even realise that I was hypermobile until someone pointed it out to me. I’ve always heard that it’s good to be flexible, and never really had any basis for comparison. But as you can see, I am bendier than the average person. (I also have poor proprioception and bruise easily, hence the dark blodges in the photographs.)
Things like the TMJ (Temporo-mandibular Joint disorder), uterine prolapse, repeated shoulder subluxations, crackly joints, stretchy skin, or even local anesthetic not lasting very long may also be related to hypermobility, but I don’t know that for sure. One of my kids is also rather bendy, so I presume there is a genetic factor to this. See The Hypermobility Syndrome Association (UK) for more information on hypermobility. This link will take you to other posts of mine dealing with hypermobility.
In any regard, here are some pictures so you can better identify possible hypermobility problems.
I should note that you don’t necessarily have to be as bendy as I am — ask your doctor!
I am not licensed to practice medicine (nor do I play one on screen),
so I cannot anwer medical quetions.
Natural finger hyperextension;
Finger hyperflexion with light pressure (palm downwards).
It also makes gripping a pencil or pen more fatiguing, and therefore penmanship more difficult (even beyond the whole “make a lefty into a righty” issue).
My fingers are also bendable sideways, even over the back of my hand.
One radiologist said I might have arachnodactily because I have such long fingers, and can grasp my wrists like so. (My fingers don’t really look that long in the picture because they’re curled, but they’re so long that I have to buy men’s gloves because women’s gloves are too small for me.)
This photograph demonstrates an indicator of possible Ehlers-Danlos, the Walker-Murdoch sicn, when the thumb encircles the wrist and overlaps the the 5th (pinkie) finger.
My wrist is also over-mobile; I can bend my thumb to touch my arm (it’s uncomfortable, but not extremely painful); this is one of the Beighton indicators for hypermobility,
So is forward flexion, being able to put one’s hands flat on the floor, even with the knees locked.
Yet another indicator is elbow or knee joints that bend further backwards than normal (my elbow is on the underside in this picture).
Beyond the usual hypermobility indicators, I might have some unusual arm rotation; my palm is down, but the inside of my elbow is facing up.
Likewise, my ankles rotate enough that I can turn the soles of my feet sideways, and even put them together (like praying hands) even when my knees are locked
Then there’s the stretchy skin bit, but I won’t go into much detail on that because it grosses people out.
So those are hypermobility. My Ehlers-Danlos considerations come those PLUS repeatedly dislocating joints: should, knee, jaw.