It is commonly believed that Joint hypermobility result from genetic variations in connective tissue matrix proteins, which results in stretchier tissues. There are other genetic collagen disorders that have hypermobility as a symptom, but hypermobility is also common within the general population and may be a result of normal genetic variation.
Possible effects of BJHS (Benign joint hypermobility syndrome):
- Excessive joint mobility i.e. your thumb can touch your forearm, being able to put your hands flat on the floor while bending forward keeping your knees straight, overextending knees and elbows
- Pain– this may be very specific (i.e. 1 – 2 joints) or very general (many joints and/or muscles) and is caused by over stretching of the joints and fatiguing of the muscles, which are not strong genetically in the first place
- Tiredness – caused by ineffective muscles, due to poor stamina
- Poor balance and co-ordination – due to lack of proprioception
- Difficulties with walking long distances / writing etc – due to weak muscles and pain.
- Easy bruising, abdominal pains, headaches, dizziness, constipation, reflux, clicking joints, fidgetiness, gait problems, urinary problems and heightened anxiety occur in some
All these can be improved through specific deep proprioception training and conditioning of the main muscle groups by applying specific strengthening exercises regularly.
Your child may experience some or all of these difficulties at various times, but there is a great deal that can be done to help ease or indeed get rid of these problems
Research has shown that if joints that are not protected adequately by strong fit muscles they may be more likely to develop osteoarthritis.
Therefore the aim of all of the treatments is to ensure that your child becomes a normal active child who is physically able to do all that they want, ensuring that their joints are protected by strong fit muscles. This however may require a long – term commitment to a home exercise / management programme.
We will assess each child individually and give them a programme tailored to address all weaknesses.
Please ensure that your child is wearing appropriate clothing such as shorts and a t-shirt (not baggy t-shirts) or vest.
What is Occupational Therapy
Occupational therapists (OTs) help people with physical, mental or social disabilities to independently carry out everyday tasks. They work with children and adults of all ages, whose difficulties may have been present since birth, or the result of an accident, illness, ageing or lifestyle.
Their aim is to understand each person’s requirements and lifestyle so they can create the best treatment plan for them to help people carry out their daily tasks and with more confidence and independence. This may be through suggested changes to the person’s environment, whether that be at home, work or school, and may provide equipment which will help with some activities. This may also be through re-education and learning of new techniques of achieving tasks.
Occupational Therapy and handwriting
Handwriting requires a combination of many skills. When a child with handwriting difficulties is seen by an OT, the therapist needs to assess the level of functioning in the following areas.
- Visual Motor Integration- hand to eye coordination.
- Fine Motor Skills- hand dominance, bilateral and motor co-ordination, in-hand manipulation, functional pencil grip,
- Gross Motor Skills- muscle tone, core strenth, hand, arm and shoulder strength.
- Visual Perception- discrimination between numbers, letters and words that are similar, spacing between letters, placing the letters on the writing line and using margins correctly, identifying which letters have been formed completely, letter and number reversal.
- Cognition- memory, language comprehension, concentration or specific learning difficulties e.g. spellings, problem solving and reasoning.
- Sensory processing difficulties- tactile, visual or proprioception.
If a child has difficulty with one of these skills, their overall writing performance may be weakened. As a consequence, a child may express an unwillingness to participate and may show a slow progression. A child’s school may observe a discrepancy between the quality of the child’s written work and verbal and cognitive abilities.