I mentioned in my first post on this blog that I have a genetic condition which affects the production of collagen in my body. I don't know which particular gene/s are affected, this would take a lot of tests and a huge amount of money.
As a result of this condition I can do all sorts of weird 'party tricks', and it is one reason I was such a good bellydancer as a teenager. Hypermobility can be a blessing, and also a curse. Being hypermobile is not that uncommon, and many talented dancers and gymnasts find being very flexible can come in quite handy. There are, however, a number of genetic conditions which feature hypermobility as a symptom, these include Ehlers Danlos Syndrome and Sticklers Syndrome. Having one of these conditions means being at risk of more serious complications such as heart troubles, deafness, sight problems, easy bleeding/bruising, healing poorly from cuts, strange scar formation, dislocation of joints, subluxation of joints (not a full dislocation but the joint is out of its correct position), increased risk of injury, pain and muscle dysfunction.
I am lucky, my aorta is fine, my hearing is good, and I don't have serious dislocations. Unfortunately my joints do move out of position at the flap of a butterflies wings, I heal poorly from cuts and have odd stretched out looking scars, pain and muscle dysfunction.
Most of these complaints can be managed, with splints/braces/strapping, exercises targeted to improve muscle function, pain medication, pacing of activity and avoiding things that put my joints into compromising positions, particularly repetitively.
According to one geneticist I had a video conference with I do not fit into one particular category, but seem to have a mixture of signs and symptoms of a few collagen disorders.
I believe from my own research that I fall more closely into the category that includes Ehlers Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility Type. I am a member of the EDS australian forum where we bendy bods share information, support each other and have a good vent when things get too difficult.
If you know someone who is hypermobile, particularly a child that appears to be having trouble, read up on hypermobility syndrome and EDS. It is often not diagnosed properly, but diagnosis could save that person a lot of awkwardness and improve their quality of life.
Here are some crazy pictures of my bendy hands: