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
JAN 21, 2020
Plants & Animals
JAN 21, 2020
After Hibernation, These Grizzlies Turn to Clams for Nourishment
Grizzly bears spend up to seven Wintery months hibernating, and in that time, they can lose a substantial amount of their body weight. While surrounding ma...
FEB 10, 2020
Space & Astronomy
FEB 10, 2020
Learn How NASA Suppresses the Loud Sounds of a Rocket Launch
When a large chemical rocket’s engines ignite, they produce thousands, if not millions, of pounds of thrust. This much power is necessary to loft the...
MAR 13, 2020
Cardiology
MAR 13, 2020
Heart Cancer, A Rarity
Cardiac tumors are generally considered rare, happening in only one in 500 cardiac surgery cases. These growths are often benign and occur on the non-cardi...
MAR 17, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
MAR 17, 2020
Ultra-high-energy Neutrinos to Baffled Particle Physicists: Surprise!
Neutrinos are an aloof member in the sub-atomic particle family: it's electrically neutral, super lightweight (its mass was considered to be zero for a...
MAR 25, 2020
Cardiology
MAR 25, 2020
Staying Fit While Avoiding COVID-19
For those used to working out at a gym, the current circumstances requiring us all to remain isolated as much as possible might be throwing off their routi...
APR 02, 2020
Clinical & Molecular DX
APR 02, 2020
Diagnosing Antisocial Personality Disorder
Antisocial personality disorder (APD), a mental disorder, is sometimes referred to as sociopathy. Persons with the disorder often show no regard for right...
Loading Comments...