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What Does It Really Mean to Be Double-Jointed?

Real Simple—April 13, 2017

HSS physiatrist Alice Chen, MD was featured in Real Simple's article on what it means to be double-jointed.

Dr. Chen said that double-jointed is not a medical term, and doctors use the word hypermobile to describe people whose joints bend past the normal point of restriction.

"The purpose of the joint is to give motion, but it’s also to prevent hypermotion, or motion in the wrong direction," she said. "When you take a step, your knee joint bends and extends so you have a stable point to put pressure on. If your knee joint went in both directions, it would collapse and you wouldn’t be able to bear weight."

Dr. Chen has seen people who are hypermobile sometimes encounter early arthritis. For parents, she recommended "if you can teach kids early enough and encourage them to do healthy cross-training and strength building, they will be less likely to have arthritic issues later in life."

Read the full article at RealSimple.com


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