MAY 12, 2017 11:06 AM PDT
What Does it Mean to be Double-Jointed?
WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
1 1 189

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
MAY 14, 2018
Videos
MAY 14, 2018
Atlas the Robot Goes Jogging in Suburbia: Video
In May 2018, Boston Dynamics shared a video of its Atlas robot out for a neighborhood jog. Much like Atlas' backflip video that received over 15 million vi
MAY 16, 2018
Videos
MAY 16, 2018
Blood Sugar Monitoring Without Finger Sticks
People with diabetes, especially those with insulin-dependent Type 1 diabetes, have to be constantly aware of their blood sugar levels. Before and after ea
MAY 20, 2018
Videos
MAY 20, 2018
Dangers of Alcohol and Other Foods on Medications
It is a fact that medications that make us drowsy should never be taken with alcoholic beverages because alcohol can also make us drowsy. However, there ar
JUN 06, 2018
Neuroscience
JUN 06, 2018
Brain Surgery Without A Scalpel
When you think of brain surgery, in addition to being incredibly intricate and delicate, scalpels and clamps and an OR come to mind. As it happens, there i
JUN 06, 2018
Chemistry & Physics
JUN 06, 2018
The Mechanism Behind Air Vortex Cannons
You probably have seen smoke rings blown by cigarette smokers or bubble rings from playful dolphins. But do you know that they are closely related to each
JUN 18, 2018
Neuroscience
JUN 18, 2018
Artificial Intelligence and Superstition
When something happens, especially an adverse event, it’s human nature to try and figure out why. When people try to make sense of unfortunate events
Loading Comments...