Physiotherapy management of joint hypermobility syndrome - a focus group study of patient and health professional perspectives

S. Palmer, R. Terry, K. A. Rimes, C. Clark, J. Simmonds, J. Horwood

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
43 Downloads (Pure)


Objective: To develop an understanding of patient and health professional views and experiences of physiotherapy to manage joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS). Design: An explorative qualitative design. Seven focus groups were convened, audio recorded, fully transcribed and analysed using a constant comparative method to inductively derive a thematic account of the data. Setting: Four geographical areas of the UK. Participants: 25 people with JHS and 16 health professionals (14 physiotherapists and two podiatrists). Results: Both patients and health professionals recognised the chronic heterogeneous nature of JHS and reported a lack of awareness of the condition amongst health professionals, patients and wider society. Diagnosis and subsequent referral to physiotherapy services for JHS was often difficult and convoluted. Referral was often for acute single joint injury, failing to recognise the long-term multi-joint nature of the condition. Health professionals and patients felt that if left undiagnosed, JHS was more difficult to treat because of its chronic nature. When JHS was treated by health professionals with knowledge of the condition patients reported satisfactory outcomes. There was considerable agreement between health professionals and patients regarding an 'ideal' physiotherapy service. Education was reported as an overarching requirement for patients and health care professionals. Conclusions: Physiotherapy should be applied holistically to manage JHS as a long-term condition and should address injury prevention and symptom amelioration rather than cure. Education for health professionals and patients is needed to optimise physiotherapy provision. Further research is required to explore the specific therapeutic actions of physiotherapy for managing JHS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalPhysiotherapy (United Kingdom)
Issue number1
Early online date3 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Physiotherapy. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Physiotherapy, 10:1 (2016) DOI: 10.1016/

© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International


National Institute for Health Research Health Technology Assessment Programme (project number 10/98/05)


  • Benign hypermobility syndrome
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome hypermobility type
  • Focus groups
  • Life experiences
  • Physiotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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