Joint Instability

On occasion, patients have multiple hypermobile, unstable joints demonstrated by frequent sprain injuries and chronic pain. These individuals are sometimes known as being “double-jointed” and often have a family history of the condition. Their joints become hypermobile due to the joint ligaments becoming very “lax” and weak. Weakened ligaments cause their joints to be more prone to being sprained and chronically painful.

A more severe form of multijoint General Ligament Laxity (GLL) occurs on occasion.  If there is a proven history of its being an inherited familial trait, GLL may fall into the diagnostic category of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.  These patients are more easily prone to ligament and tendon sprain injury.

Another general condition usually recognized in older individuals is the joint hypermobility and joint ligament pain seen with osteoarthritis.  In these cases, the articular cartilage has worn down  . . .  usually due to normal wear-and-tear.  The loss of cartilage, along with weakened ligaments, results in hypermobility, joint instability, and increased risk of painful ligament stress, strain, and sprain.

Many individuals (male and female) suffer from joints that are hypermobile due to traumatic sprain injury. A common example is the shoulder that has been traumatically dislocated and has, since, become hypermobile (unstable) and more easliy reinjured. Joints of the upper extremities, including shoulders, elbowswrists, and hands are quite susceptible to injury, especially in those patients with general ligament laxity.

An especially common—but not so often recognized—example of chronic joint instability is the sacroiliac joint that has become partially displaced or dislocated, causing chronic low back pain and a short leg syndrome.

Other weight-bearing joints, such as those of the hips, knees, ankles, and feet, can be especially problematic when hypermobile.  This is especially true of the joints that support the plantar arches of the feet.


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Sprain injuries in patients with ligament laxity, including GLL, respond very well to Osteopathic Manual Therapy (OMT)Prolotherapy, Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) TherapyNeural Therapy, Orthotic Therapy, or Interim Medication—the choice of treatment depending on the specific joint injury.

BOULDER PROLOTHERAPY provides abundant experience in treating and permanently relieving acute and chronic joint pain related to general ligament laxity, giving you the ability to move more freely and enjoy your favorite activities. At the same time, we can help you eliminate the need for chronic pain medication.

Gary B. Clark, MD, MPA | 1790 30th Street, Suite 230, Boulder, CO | (303) 444-5131