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What are signs of hypermobility in babies?

(15 Posts)
gardenveggies Wed 31-Aug-11 08:57:55


I was diagnosed as hypermobile during my pregnancy. Never been a problem before. It is now, slightly. My 9 month old son has rolled over both ways (could roll for England), sit up unaided for many hours if he had to, and can stand and bear weight for some time if I gently/very lightly hold him (with one finger).

But he shows no signs of crawling - and yes, I do realise it's early etc - so that isn't a worry so much. But when he sits, he opens his legs (in a v) and to reach a toy he can reach quite far and flatten quite low (in front). Do other babies do this, or is this a sign of extra bendiness?

What are the signs of hypermobility?

As I said, I know it's early, but I just wanted to keep an eye on any hereditary stuff.

milkyjo Wed 31-Aug-11 09:34:05

My DS does this, he also puts his head on the floor. Babies are generally more flexible as their bones aren't completely fused and their muscles are developing. That's why babies can put their whole foot in their mouths whilst having their nappies changed! I would say this is completely normal.

gardenveggies Wed 31-Aug-11 09:34:53

Ha! Yes, forgot about the foot in mouth trick. That's good to know. Weird how you start looking for stuff...

EKP Wed 31-Aug-11 18:36:03

Hi there,
I think that Milkyjo is right in that babies do tend to be a lot more flexible. If you wanted more info on the Hypermobility, however, there is a useful website with a section on diagnosing and also a section of kids and hypermobility:
Hope this helps.

seaweed74 Wed 31-Aug-11 20:38:17

Hi. My DD is hypermobile. She sat unaided at 8 months. Bum shuffled until crawling began at 19 months (DD only rolled at 18 months, but hated tummy time so that could be unrelated). The most important thing to note is that DD did not weight bear at all during this time which many medical professionals did not tell me was pretty important (even though they were well aware of this)!! She often sat with her legs in a "w" position which is a sign of hypermobility, but as i can do that and so could my mum we didn't think that was abnormal.

DD is now 2.8yrs and cannot yet walk without support. At 2.6 yrs DD stood for the first time and having been fitted with leg splints she can walk short distances holding hands. We hope for unaided walking by 3 yrs.

Obviously DD is a more extreme case (though luckily not prone to dislocation). Hypermobility can be mild and not diagnosed if problems are not really presenting. I would say just to keep an eye on your DS and see what happens. Maybe he'll not bother crawling at all.

gardenveggies Wed 31-Aug-11 21:26:45

Hi Seaweed, thanks very much for the reply. Really helpful. Glad that your DD stood for the first time not so long ago! That's progress.

This might sound really stupid, but if my DS can stand (for quite long periods), holding lightly to my finger, or yesteday to a drawer handle, does that mean he can bear weight? Are they talking just about bearing weight on legs?

And the 'w' position - is that legs wide? Don't lots of babies sit like that?

Thanks very much

gardenveggies Wed 31-Aug-11 21:31:19

Sorry, just realised what the 'w' position is. Got it wrong in my, DS doesn't sit like that but he's too young to at moment.

seaweed74 Thu 01-Sep-11 21:05:04

Yes your DS is bearing weight (and no not stupid question). My DD refused to even try eventually as her ankles bent in such a wierd way! Weightbearing though doesn't mean he's not hypermobile but sounds like he's doing just great at mo. Even if he does start to sit in "w" position not necessarily going to lead to problems, but more unusual for boys to be able to do that according to our paediatrician.

I've been told that DD probably won't have problems with movement in later life once her muscles strengthen to help support her joints. Time will tell if this is true or not!!!

Hope that helps smile

PigeonPair Thu 01-Sep-11 21:54:29

DS (6) is hypermobile. He sat at about 9 months (quite late), did not crawl at all but walked at 13 months (pretty normal). We noticed he hated tummy time but put that down to his big head! The main thing we noticed was that although he could walk, he could not pull himself up on things (and didn't until about 18 months) and found crawling up the stairs hard going. He was able to weightbear from a very early age but couldn't get up himself IYSWIM! He also liked to W sit (apparently this is because hypermobile children find this position more stable). None of this affected him really but niggled us and in the end we took him to be assessed by a Physiotherapist who diagnosed hypermobility and low muscle tone (the two often go hand-in-hand), By then he was about 3 1/2. He has no problems with Physical activities and can do everything but you can tell he is not a natural sportsman (although he thinks he is FAB at everything and long may that last wink). Anyway he now has a session with a Physio once a week, as well as lots of swimming, cycling, gymnastics and his core strength has improved dramatically! Hopefully that gives you a bit more info!

PigeonPair Thu 01-Sep-11 21:57:03

Just to also mention - our Physio says W position is a real no-no as it shortens the hamstrings and tendons. It has been so hard to get DS out of the habit but since he started school and "school legs" are the order of the day, he has had to!

azazello Thu 01-Sep-11 22:03:51

I am slightly hypermobile (especially arms, wrists and fingers which all bend in horrible ways) and my sister is much worse although without muscle tone problems so I'm keeping an eye on my DCs for any genetic link but neither show any signs.

DD is more likely to be affected as she doesn't particularly enjoy running around but there is nothing to suggest this is bad. She crawled at 11 months and walked at 16 months but was happily standing up and holding on from 9-10 months.

Marne Thu 01-Sep-11 22:13:44

Both my dd's are hypermobile, dd1 didn't sit until she was 10 months, would slip down in the pushchair when sat up (so had to let her lie down), walked at 15 months but was not really walking outside until she was 2, she struggled to sit uprite in her high chair until she was 2. As she got older she would sit in the w position and sleep with her legs in the same position, she's now 7 and has problems running, her feet, ankles and hips are turning and we only got a dx of hypermobility a month ago (as the GP would not listen to me), she's now waiting for physio and insoles for her shoes ,she's also having OT weekly. Dd2 is very similar but was walking at 10 months.

seaweed74 Fri 02-Sep-11 22:51:42

That's really useful info Pigeon for us as with DD still not walking her ability/skill level with most physical movements is as yet unknown. Seems that the way in which hypermobility affects children as they grow varies enormously. Perhaps that's why no one really mentions what problems if any DD will have later. They are all focused on getting her on her feet (more urgent as I am 31 weeks pg and although she's petite weight wise, lifting her is getting tricky!).

Currently we've not been told to stop the w sitting but maybe that will happen when she's older. DD is approx 12-15 months behind generally in her development as well.

Swimming was highly recommended to increase DD's muscle tone (she is low tone too), but currently taking a non-walker swimming at 7 months pregnant is not possible!!!! Swimming does not put pressure on the joints and is therefore great exercise for hypermobile people OP.

rabbitstew Sat 03-Sep-11 20:28:14

Look at the way your ds weightbears, if he does - my ds1 could stand if put in that position, but only because he was locking his knees back in the wrong direction to achieve it (legs made a lovely curve...). Hence being incapable of pulling himself to stand (this requires collossal strength and stability around the joints) or sitting back down again when he was little (prior to physiotherapy). He is extremely hypermobile - has a diagnosis of ehlers-danlos syndrome, hypermobile type. The w-position isn't always that bad, apparently. I happily spent my childhood sitting like that without any apparent ill effect, as did my mother before me (and my ds2 after me...), but then whilst I am very hypermobile, I don't have low muscle tone. Ds1 does also have low muscle tone. According to ds1's physio, the real harm of the w-position is caused where a child's hypermobility/low tone is neurological (ie the brain reacts too slowly to damaging over-stretching of muscles and ligaments that would not otherwise be naturally that stretchy). However, since it CAN cause harm, particularly if a child always sits like that, I guess it isn't advisable.

Basically, a lot of people are naturally hypermobile and the majority of those never consider it an issue at all. If your ds is rolling, crawling, bottom shuffling, sitting up, walking, etc within reasonable time limits, I really wouldn't spend much of your time thinking about whether or not he might be hypermobile - particularly since he'll never get pregnant, so never suffer the hormones which hugely exacerbate hypermobility symptoms in many women. Unless, of course, there is a more serious family history than you have already described (eg frequent dislocations or severe early onset osteo-arthritis). And as others have said, things like swimming are very helpful. The stronger your muscles, the better control they can have over your over-extendable joints and can therefore help prevent excessive, accidental stretching and damage over time - unless you choose a form of exercise, like serious gymnastics, which encourages the tendency to over-stretch, of course!

fiveisanawfullybignumber Sat 10-Sep-11 14:30:32

DD3 is hypermobile with low tone as well. She sat at about 9m, bumshuffled at 11m, rolled at 12m and at 16m is only just starting to weight bear. She sits with her legs very wide apart (not very ladylike) and always has leaky nappies from this position. (need a frustrated got to change her clothes again emoticon!)
She is also quite difficult to pick up as she gets heavier as there is virtually no resistance in her shoulders. I try to lift her up, and unless I hold her v firmly around ribs she will just slide right through my hands. She's always slumped rather than sat in highchair and pushchair. Just waiting to see pead again in Nov to ask for physio and SALT referal as she only has 4 words which aren't to clear to others (due to low tone I think.) Mama, Dada, Herow for hello and poooo, when I change her and ask if she's done a poo.grin

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