Impact of joint laxity and hypermobility on the musculoskeletal system

J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2011 Aug;19(8):463-71. doi: 10.5435/00124635-201108000-00002.


Excessive joint laxity, or hypermobility, is a common finding of clinical importance in the management of musculoskeletal conditions. Hypermobility is common in young patients and in general is associated with an increased incidence of musculoskeletal injury. Hypermobility has been implicated in ankle sprains, anterior cruciate ligament injury, shoulder instability, and osteoarthritis of the hand. Patients with hypermobility and musculoskeletal injuries often seek care for diffuse musculoskeletal pain and injuries with no specific inciting event. Orthopaedic surgeons and other healthcare providers should be aware of the underlying relationship between hypermobility and musculoskeletal injury to avoid unnecessary diagnostic tests and inappropriate management. Prolonged therapy and general conditioning are typically required, with special emphasis on improving strength and proprioception to address symptoms and prevent future injury. Orthopaedic surgeons must recognize the implications of joint mobility syndromes in the management and rehabilitation of several musculoskeletal injuries and orthopaedic disorders.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ankle Injuries / diagnosis
  • Ankle Injuries / etiology
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries
  • Arthrometry, Articular
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Joint Dislocations / diagnosis
  • Joint Dislocations / etiology
  • Joint Instability / classification
  • Joint Instability / complications*
  • Joint Instability / diagnosis
  • Joint Instability / epidemiology
  • Knee Injuries / diagnosis
  • Knee Injuries / etiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Marfan Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Musculoskeletal Diseases / etiology*
  • Musculoskeletal System / injuries*
  • Osteoarthritis / diagnosis
  • Osteoarthritis / etiology
  • Shoulder Dislocation / diagnosis
  • Shoulder Dislocation / etiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Wrist Joint / physiopathology