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22 Signs You Grew Up With Hypermobility

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Editor's Note

Any medical information included is based on a personal experience. For questions or concerns regarding health or diagnoses, please consult a doctor or medical professional. 

People with hypermobility are advised to avoid performing or showcasing hypermobile “tricks” as this can cause long-term damage to the joints.

While it’s not uncommon for people to be “double-jointed” in one or two parts of their body, having loose connective tissue in the joints that allows you to easily extend them beyond their normal range of motion can be indicative of hypermobility. For many people, hypermobile joints are painless and not caused by an underlying medical issue, but for some, hypermobility can be a painful symptom of a chronic condition – such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, joint hypermobility syndrome or Marfan syndrome.

Although it can sometimes take years (perhaps even decades) to receive a diagnosis that explains your symptoms, many people with illness-related hypermobility can trace their issues back to adolescence or even childhood. Perhaps you were able to bend your fingers and arms in ways other kids couldn’t, or were always rolling your ankles and getting injured during gym class. But if this was your “normal” growing up, it may have taken some time before you realized that all the pain, discomfort and dislocations were actually indicative of an underlying condition.

Sometimes receiving a diagnosis as an adult not only puts a name to your current set of symptoms, but can also make sense of some of your childhood experiences. We asked our Mighty community to share signs they experienced hypermobility growing up, which they now recognize in retrospect. Maybe some of these will ring true for you as well.

Here’s what our community shared with us:

  1. Looking back, I would sit with my legs folded like a pretzel and stretch in ways I now know most people cannot do.” – Krystal K.
  2. I was very clumsy – tripped a lot, ran into walls and furniture, etc…. I was never able to maintain correct finger position on violin or piano for long since my fingers would ‘collapse’ and lock back instead of maintaining a strong curve. I also sprained my neck several times and constantly had ribs popping out. I had no clue those weren’t normal injuries for most people.” – Rayla S.C.
  3. My knees dislocated all the time when I was little! I also thought it was normal to be able to twist my arm in a 360° circle. I have Marfan syndrome.” – Cassandra A.B.
  4. In high school, the look on my friends’ faces when they saw my thumbs can bend back to touch the lower arm. They gave me the same look when they saw my fingers’ joints all bent like a zig-zag. I realized by said looks that being able to bend like that wasn’t normal.” – Evie D.S.
  5. I set flexibility test records every year that to this day have not been broken at six different schools.” – Unity M.
  6. “Being the kid that would be running round playing football one day, and be on crutches for the next six weeks with a ‘funny knee.’ No doctors I saw could figure out what was wrong with me.” – Zoe K.H.
  7. Having physical therapists tell you at 13 years old that they have never seen anyone’s knees hyperextend that far backwards and call everyone else over to look.” – Kara H.R.
  8. I definitely should have noticed my hypermobility more when I was younger. When I played soccer in middle school my kneecaps would go in and out very easily. Bowling and basketball [were] always difficult because my fingers would hyperextend and dislocate, making things painful and causing me to drop the ball. That same problem with my fingers would cause me to drop plates of food or cups of coffee. So many things!” – Catherine A.M.
  9. I would just hang out with my feet behind my head. Just because I could. Freaked my parents right out.” – Lindsay-Sarah C.
  10. I was constantly getting injured growing up, mostly joint dislocations. I was as flexible as most of my friends who were in dance classes all growing up, even though I had never taken a dance class.” – Delsy G.
  11. I had so much trouble holding a pencil! My fingers would turn white and cramp because I’d try so hard.” – Sam O.
  12. Not being able to run properly. I used to ‘gallop’ (there’s no better way to describe it) to keep my hips in. P.E. teachers used to yell at me for ‘goofing off’ but if I ran properly I’d start falling over, crying, etc. Turns out I wasn’t just trying to get out of it, my hips were just subluxing/dislocating!” – Alecia R.
  13. My body has been doing the snap crackle pop symphony as long as I can remember.” – Jess S.
  14. The fact that I could contort into the craziest hiding places while playing hide and seek! Even kids smaller than me couldn’t fit in my hiding places.” – Nicolette K.
  15. I was really into dance and gymnastics as a kid because I was so flexible. I was always the most flexible on my team; little did I know that that was the reason I kept getting injured over and over.” – Shyla M.
  16. I hated the no-stretch Levi’s and other denim jeans before bell bottoms and baggy pants came into style in the ’90s. It literally took me until now to put it together that it was because taking them off always subluxed my ankles, and resisted my knees and made my hips pop.” – Caitlin G.
  17. I had nightly ‘growing pain,’ and rolled my ankles almost daily.” – Anni E.
  18. Not being able to run or keep up with peers especially during times of physical education at school. Teachers thought I was being lazy but I was practically tripping myself, ankles rolling and in pain. It was exhausting and I hated P.E. – I’d do anything to get out of doing it.” – Pandora L.P.
  19. None of my friends had a box full of braces for every joint in their closet.” – Hailey R.
  20. When I raised my hand in class, my shoulder would painfully twist out of its socket. I eventually learned to raise my hand without extending my upper arm above my shoulder. I don’t remember telling anyone. It was just something I adjusted to. Now I know these were repetitive subluxations.” – Shari W.
  21. I’d ‘walk’ on the sides of my feet; I’d also turn my right foot and knee in until my right foot and knee [were] facing backwards.” – Kathryn M.
  22. Turns out I should have showed those shoulder party tricks and other things to a doctor when I was a kid. They never asked the right questions to arrive at hEDS [hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome] and I never knew it wasn’t normal to feel and move the way I did and that it was all going to get worse. Now I know!” – Catherine M.
Originally published: February 22, 2018
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