MAY 12, 2017 11:06 AM PDT

What Does it Mean to be Double-Jointed?

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Double-jointedness is a cool party trick that elicits many "oohs" and "aahs." Yes, anytime that a person can bend their fingers to touch the back of their hand, bend their knee joints backwards, or otherwise contort their limbs into unusual and painful-looking poses, we are mesmerized with morbid curiosity.

The condition is known as hypermobility syndrome, and it describes the ability to move or stretch a joint outside the typical limitations without any pain. Surprisingly, the condition is common, showing up in between 10 to 25 percent of the population. So the chances of encountering a double-jointed act at a party is statistically pretty good.

Of note, the term 'double-jointed' is misleading since it implies that these peoples' flexibility is due to them having more joints than normal. But, that is not typically the case, and most 'double-jointed' people have the same number of joints as other people.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
SEP 12, 2018
Health & Medicine
SEP 12, 2018
Before You Tear the Moldy Portion of Your Bread Off and Call it Good... Watch This
While most people cringe at the thought of a moldy piece of bread lurking in their refrigerator, there exist bolder people who will gladly tear the moldy b...
SEP 15, 2018
Videos
SEP 15, 2018
Nature's Giant Genomes
We have around three billion base pairs in our genome. There are some organisms with far more....
SEP 18, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
SEP 18, 2018
Medkit for Astronauts
When travelling to a faraway place, we are likely to pack some medicines in the bag. For the astronauts on board of the International Space Station (ISS),...
SEP 19, 2018
Plants & Animals
SEP 19, 2018
Here's How to Tell if Your Dog Actually Likes You
Good dog owners love their pet unconditionally, but how can you be sure that your dog loves you back? For some, the answer is obvious; but for those curiou...
SEP 30, 2018
Microbiology
SEP 30, 2018
These Microscopic Things Elude Our Eyes Every Day
We take much of what we can see for granted, but if your eyes had the observational power of a microscope, you’d probably look at the world very diff...
OCT 03, 2018
Videos
OCT 03, 2018
Understanding Brain Aneurysms
A brain aneurysm is a medical emergency, but many patients don’t understand much about them. First, it’s not the same a clot. An aneurysm is wh...
Loading Comments...