Double jointed elbows: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention

October 20, 2023

Double jointed elbows: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention
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Double jointed elbows: Causes, Symptoms, and Prevention




Double-Jointed Elbows

Hypermobility of elbows is a more exact expression for double-jointed elbows, which are characterized by increased flexibility compared to usual conditions. The fact that the ligaments supporting the joint are loose provides extra room for the limbs to move forward or bend outward. Moreover, it usually runs in families and is seen more commonly among children, especially those with a history of joint hypermobility. Some people may not feel anything but can suffer joint dislocation, pain, and increased vulnerability to injury. These include physical therapy targeted exercises, including joint protection. When there is pain and disability due to joint hypermobility, one should go to see a doctor and undertake the required treatments.

Table of Contents

  • Double-Jointed Elbows
  • Why Do Double-Jointed Elbows Occur?
  • Signs of Double-Jointed Elbows
  • Diagnosing Double-Jointed Elbows
  • Health Concerns and Complications
  •  Preventive Measures and Self-Care Strategies
  • Conclusion
  • frequently asked questions 

Why Do Double-Jointed Elbows Occur?

The reasons for double-jointed elbows occurring are multifaceted and may include:

  • Genetics: Individuals born with joint hypermobility may come from a genetic predisposition, and it is a common trait among families. A number of individuals have a genotype that encodes collagen, a connective tissue that gives support to their bodies. These genes undergo variations and lead to increased joint flexibility.
  • Collagen Structure: In particular, collagen is an essential element within the ligaments, tendons, and other joint-supporting tissue elements. It also suggests that different kinds of collagen alter, which influences the joint’s state of stability. Hypermobility can result from various characteristics in a person, such as if their collagen has a lower density or is more elastic than normal.
  • Hormonal Changes: Joint laxity may be influenced by hormone changes such as that experienced in puberty, pregnancy, or menstruation. In another instance, hormones such as relaxin that come out during pregnancy make the joints more flexible.
  • Physical Activity and Training: However, prolonged practice, such as those of athletes and others who involve much joint flexibility, may result in hypermobility. This entails that one would be able to stretch their joints regularly for improved mobility.
  • Connective Tissue Disorders: Certain connective tissue disorders, such as Ehlers-Danlos and Marfan syndromes, are linked to cases of joint hypermobility.  The body’s connective tissues lose their strength as a result of these conditions, which cause problems such as joint laxity.

Signs of Double-Jointed Elbows

Increased Range of Motion: People with double joints are able to perform a wide variety of movements with their limbs, especially at elbow level. It may allow them to stretch further than most people normally would and, consequently, provide a greater extension of their hands beyond that distance.

Joint Instability: The joint may also become less stable due to the loosened ligaments around it in the neck. It may lead to a “wobbling” effect on the joint at times, which, by implication, makes it more susceptible to dislocation and injury.

Pain or discomfort: There may be some pain and/or discomfort in hypermobile elbows due to excess or recurrent movement. If the joint is stretched beyond its limit, it may cause damage to the surrounding ligaments and thus lead to discomfort or even inflammation of the area.

Increased Risk of Injury: People suffering from hypermobile elbows may suffer injuries like dislocations and strain as a result of undertaking tasks that overload the joint, for instance.

Difficulty in Weight-Bearing Activities: Because of their innate unsteadiness, people with elbows prone to hypermobility normally experience difficulty performing weight-bearing functions like exercises that involve lifting heavy loads due to their unstable joints.

There are various symptoms that might interfere with one’s normal activities and daily routines among individuals with hypomobility. Joint hypermobility is associated with JHS and EDS, which results in generalized joint aches for the whole body. If there are persistent pains and joint instability, then one should seek attention from doctors and other healthcare professionals. Hypermobility may require exercise prescriptions or physiotherapy, as well as the management of joint injuries and surgery. Physiotherapists are able to advise on the appropriate exercise prescription or physiotherapy for strengthening joints and prescribe drugs in cases of joint injury and surgery.

Diagnosing Double-Jointed Elbows

Diagnosing double-jointed elbows typically involves a comprehensive assessment that may include the following steps:

  1. Physical examination: During a physical examination, a healthcare provider checks the movement of the elbow and knee joints. They may note the length to which the elbows would bend and extend outside normal mobility.
  2. Clinical history: The collection of elaborate medical histories helps in finding out the joint’s range of motion and the related signs and problems. This might include asking about previous occurrences or episodes of joint pain, instability, dislocations, and complications.
  3. Beighton score: A commonly used scoring system to evaluate joint hypermobility is the Beighton score. This entails several motions through which range-of-motion tests are carried out on different joint joints, including knee bends, elbow bends,  and spinal flexion. A score of four out of nine points or higher indicates hypermobility. 
  4. Joint imaging: In other cases, imaging tests like x-rays or MRIs may be used to check for injuries and joint deformities in the joint structure to rule out any contributing causes for hypermobility.
  5. Genetic evaluation: In some circumstances, this type of inquiry may need to include genetic evaluation and the identification of potential linked gene conditions, such as Marfan syndrome and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Health Concerns and Complications

  • Joint instability: Elbows with a double joint lead to an unstable joint in most people due to the high probability of a dislocation or subluxation. The problem is painful, makes the person experience swelling in his joints, and affects normal movements a lot, so it can affect other people’s everyday business.
  • Joint pain and discomfort: excessive elasticity of the elbows may lead to long-term pain and difficulty, especially in activities involving too much movement or stress. It may cause swelling, pain, and tiredness in the joints and muscles.
  • Increased risk of injuries: injuries like strains, sprains, and overuse injuries that happen in hypermobile joints. Continuous movement, especially one that is strenuous and involves repetition, may further destabilise these loose joints and cause injury.
  • Muscle weakness and imbalance: Double-jointed elbows can put extra strain on the ligaments and tendons surrounding them, resulting in weakened muscles and insufficient support for the joints. It may also cause instability in the whole elbow, which will lead to more problems.
  • Development of osteoarthritis: The joints suffer because of the over-moving with time and can lead to osteoarthritis in advance. This is because these are not in a position to cushion the joint surfaces that continuously undergo wear and tear, resulting in degeneration, which might lead to chronic pain, stiffness, and a limited range of motion.
  • Impact on daily activities: People with elbow doubles can have difficulty accomplishing some precise and intricate duties, for example, raising hefty things, playing sports competitions, or doing hard work. During these activities, there is a risk that accidental injury or strain might occur.
  • Connective tissue disorders: Hypermobility may also be linked to specific connective tissue diseases, including Ehlers-Danlos syndrome and Marfan syndrome. Changes in the body’s connective tissues may accompany such conditions, leading to joint hypermobility and subsequent systemic complications.

 Preventive Measures and Self-Care Strategies

Strength training: Doing regular strength training exercises involving muscles around the elbow joint helps stabilize the joint. Strengthening muscles helps to protect joints and provides more support, which reduces the occurrence of possible injuries.

Proper posture: The elbows should be in proper extended positions so that they are not bent excessively as a result of overstretching. The right ergonomics at work and in everyday life relieve any extra load from the joints.

Joint protection techniques: The right joint replacement techniques for injury prevention should, therefore, avoid repeated movements as well as putting too much strain on the elbow joints, which may lead to overuse injuries as well as further damage to the joints.

Avoiding overextension: However, at no time shall the elbows be stretched up beyond a level angle. In order not to cause overextension, they may result in one restraining themselves from performing any actions that demand hyper-extension movements, sprains, strains, and dislocations.

Balanced exercise regimen: A healthy joint workout emphasizes muscle strength, stability, and overall flexibility, which is beneficial in preventing joint wear and tear. They might try to take on some low-impact exercises such as swimming, yoga, and pilates.

Use of protective gear: Wearing elbow pads or braces in cases with a threat to the elbows is an additional safety measure, lowering the chances of injury.

Proper warm-up and cool-down: It is important to do appropriate preparation exercises before embarking on the task, as you will need your body parts fit and ready for the workout. Cooling down is also an essential part of the workout routine, and it can help get rid of post-workout soreness and stiffness.

Healthy lifestyle habits: Prophylactic measures include the consumption of a healthy dietary regime with sufficient amounts of drinking water and without excessive workload.

Regular monitoring and communication with a healthcare professional: Persons with double-jointed elbows should always get their joints assessed regularly, and they must seek guidance from physicians on what is needed for them as far as the management of their illnesses is concerned.

This would imply that preventive measures and self-care practices should be an integral part of life for individuals with double-jointed elbows, as they will help minimize the occurrence of injuries, strengthen joints during movement, and maintain general health benefits.


Lastly, joint hyperextensibility and hypermobility increase flexibility but also articulation injury and joint laxity. Genetics, hormone influence, and physical activities are some of the risk factors for the disease, but there are many strategies that can be used to minimise risk and make self-care easy, thus reducing the risks associated with other ailments. This includes frequent strengthening of stressed joints, good posture, or the avoidance of excessive injury to joint ligaments that would lead to chronic pain. To further reduce the likelihood of complications around the joints, exercise in moderation, avoid overstretching, and use protective gear.

 Successful management of double-jointed elbows and general joint health involves proper warm-ups and cool-downs, a healthy lifestyle, and frequent consultations with a doctor. With this, people with double-jointed elbows can minimize the chances of injury and enhance joint stability, in addition to the quality of their lives, by including such exercises in their daily routines.

frequently asked questions 

How common are double-jointed elbows?

The type of double-jointed elbow known as joint hypermobility syndrome is relatively common. Estimates indicate that somewhere between ten and twenty-five percent of people are jointly hypermobile, with the ability to reach their elbows behind their backs.

Does double-jointedness run in families?

Yes, it can be said that most cases of double-jointedness among people are inheritable. It’s hereditary in nature, and you may find more than one member of the same extended family displaying signs of joint weakness. Hence, this implicates inheritability in relation to the transmission of the disease.

Do most children have doule joints?

Some children may exhibit the condition of joint hypermobility, but it cannot be concluded that all children have double joints. It should be noted that joint hypermobility may be more prevalent in childhood because of natural laxity in ligaments and tendons but not every child has this condition. In assessing children’s joint mobility, it is crucial to differentiate normal flexibility from clinical joint hypermobility.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.



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