As many of you know, I was diagnosed with one form of symptomatic hypermobility in 1999 when I was in my teens. But all these many years later and I'm still learning through my girls predominantly.

For example, over the past few years... especially the past few months(!) I've learnt what to look for in a "good" physiotherapist. So I thought I'd pass my tips onto you.

Number one: They will not be preoccupied with the 'severity' of your child's hypermobility.

Number two: They will observe all exercises from a number of angles to check for not only locking of joints, but also if your child might be gripping joints together for stability (e.g. knees touching when doing a bridge).

Number three: They will not tell you to push past your point of pain, and to continue until the joint is 'tired' - often physio for hypermobile people needs to go at a much slower, gentler pace, particularly as our pain often sets in hours after an activity.

Number four: They will help teach not only your child where their joint limits are meant to be, but also you as a parent, so that you can ensure they are stabilising their joints correctly during the exercises.

Number five: They will understand that doing exercises 'very well' every other day, is probably better than doing them poorly every day.

Number six: They will understand that once force is applied to a joint, even if it's not overtly hypermobile on observation, that it is very easy to push past the limits - far easier than for a non-hypermobile person.

Number seven: They would hopefully steer away from making comments about stiffness kicking in once you stop growing - I mean, I'm being a bit diplomatic here. Stiffness can, and very often does kick in as we age. But us hypermobile adults full well know, that stiffness often does not mean the 'end of difficulty.' Stiffness certainly shouldn't be branded as a cure-all. Plus, no one has a magic ball! We shouldn't be making any presumptions for the future - our presentation can, and frequently does change. Our "now" should be treated, along with strength building.

Number eight: They will try and make exercises as fun as they can - this breeds the best success.

Number nine: They will show your child how they can still join in on sporting activities they enjoy safely. E.g. Showing my daughter how to use a swing without popping her shoulders out.

Number ten: They will listen to what you have to say as a parent - we are the best experts in our child's experience.

Now, I'll be realistic, to hit every point might be difficult. So let's try and aim for most. :) But ultimately, if they make comments or do anything that makes your stomach turn over (I'm sure all parents know this feeling well!) - it's likely that there may be some big warning signs going on.

And if you find someone that meets most of those points, hang onto them for dear life!

Lara
- Social Media Volunteer