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
NOV 24, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
NOV 24, 2020
Want to Keep Calm? Tap Water Might Help
The ongoing worldwide pandemic places the mental health of many communities on red alert. But there may be a remedy to e ...
DEC 15, 2020
Immunology
The Possibility of Improving an Older Adult's Response to Vaccines
DEC 15, 2020
The Possibility of Improving an Older Adult's Response to Vaccines
A recent study published in the eLife journal examined how they can improve older adults' responses to vaccines ...
JAN 11, 2021
Immunology
Can Immune cells contribute to Lung Diseases Severity?!
JAN 11, 2021
Can Immune cells contribute to Lung Diseases Severity?!
Macrophages are a type of immune cell that can detect and destruct bacteria, viruses, and harmful materials. They a ...
MAR 06, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Astronomers Find Tectonic Activity on Exoplanet
MAR 06, 2021
Astronomers Find Tectonic Activity on Exoplanet
For the first time, researchers from the University of Bern in Switzerland have found evidence of tectonic activity on a ...
MAR 31, 2021
Plants & Animals
Spring Winds Following Warmer Winters Cause Mass Jellyfish Strandings
MAR 31, 2021
Spring Winds Following Warmer Winters Cause Mass Jellyfish Strandings
Beachgoers are certainly not fond of jellyfish in the water, but seeing hundreds of them wash ashore is an interesting a ...
APR 09, 2021
Plants & Animals
Speedbumps Reduce Endangered Red Colobus Deaths
APR 09, 2021
Speedbumps Reduce Endangered Red Colobus Deaths
The endangered Zanzibar red colobus is a rare primate that lives only in the Zanzibar archipelago. New research from Ban ...
Loading Comments...