Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Hand FAQ

Question:

I can pull my thumb down far enough to touch it to my forearm. No one else I know can dothis. Am I double jointed?

Answer:

"Double jointed" is a term used to describe people who are very flexible. They really only have one joint but the motion at that joint is more than what most people have."Double jointed" is a term used to describe people who are very flexible. They really only have one joint but the motion at that joint is more than what most people have.

You may have seen people in the circus or on TV who can support their body weight on their hands while wrapping their legs over their shoulders. Or contortionists who can get their entire body into a two foot square box. These people have hypermobile joints. They are often very thin, so the muscle bulk doesn't limit motion when the legs or arms are bent.

The contractile tissue around the joint is also loose or lax so the joint has more "give" or motion. You may have just one hypermobile joint. But many people who can touch the thumb to the forearm have generalized hypermobility throughout the body. They can also touch the palms to the floor with the knees straight.

Tamara A. Scerpella, MD, et al. Ligamentous Laxity and Non-contact Anterior Cruciate Ligament Tears: A Gender-Based Comparison. In Orthopedics. July 2005. Vol. 28. No. 7. Pp. 656-660.

*Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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