Purpose of review:
Joint hypermobility is widely prevalent in all communities yet its clinical effects are poorly understood and often overlooked by rheumatologists worldwide.
They may observe the hypermobility but fail to appreciate its significance in terms of overall morbidity and, more specifically, its strong link with chronic pain, fatigue, dysautonomia [dysregulation of the autonomic or “unconscious” nervous system, as in postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome and much more] and the adverse impact on quality of life.
Recent findings: This last year's publications shed further light on this fascinating and, as yet, largely unexplored terrain within rheumatology.
Perhaps the most compelling new knowledge is the finding that hypermobility, if sought, is the most common finding amongst patients presenting to a rheumatologist; more often than not, it is being overlooked.
There is an urgent need for rheumatologists to accept the challenges posed by hypermobility-related disorders, which have, in the past, fallen by default to clinical geneticists untrained in rheumatology.
Summary: Hypermobility, a largely unacknowledged though epidemiologically important area within rheumatology, affects almost every bodily system. Recent medical literature attests to the breadth of clinical science encompassed by the seemingly trivial term, hypermobility. Drawing readers' attentions to this fascinating, challenging, but neglected area of rheumatology will hopefully entice them to explore these conditions with greater zeal.
Source: Current Opinion in Rheumatology. 2008 Jan;20(1):106-10. PMID: 18281866, by Grahame R, Hakim AJ. Hypermobility Clinic, Centre for Rheumatology, University College Hospital, London, UK.