My doctor recently commented that I have loose joints. What does this mean?

Answers from Edward R. Laskowski, M.D.

Loose joints is a term that's sometimes used to describe hypermobile joints. Joint hypermobility — the ability of a joint to move beyond its normal range of motion — is common in children and decreases with age.

Having a few hypermobile joints isn't unusual. In most people, joint hypermobility causes no problems and requires no treatment.

But in some people, hypermobility causes joint pain and results in a higher incidence of dislocations and sprains, which can result in osteoarthritis in that joint. Your doctor might suggest physical therapy to help strengthen these joints.

See your doctor if your loose joints also cause you pain. Rarely, joint hypermobility is a sign of a serious disorder, such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or Marfan syndrome.

July 08, 2014