Neurodivergent Hypermobility: The Link Between ADHD and Joint Laxity

Blog Neurodivergent Hypermobility The Link Between ADHD and Joint Laxity
Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge

Parenting children with mental health challenges requires a comprehensive understanding of their conditions. One often overlooked aspect is the connection between ADHD and hypermobility. I’ll help simplify this relationship to provide parents with manageable insights into this complex intersection.

Understanding the connection between ADHD and hypermobility can explain the challenges faced by children who experience both conditions. While ADHD is commonly associated with difficulties in attention and impulse control, hypermobility adds another layer of complexity that impacts their physical comfort and motor skills.

Acknowledging the overlap between hypermobility and ADHD can help parents advocate for their children within educational and healthcare settings. Many professionals may not be aware of this connection, causing misinterpretation of symptoms or inadequate treatment plans. 

Armed with knowledge, parents can collaborate more effectively with healthcare providers to ensure their children receive comprehensive care that addresses their mental and physical well-being.

What is ADHD?

ADHD, or Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by attention difficulties, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Children with ADHD may struggle with focus, organization, and sitting still for extended periods.

ADHD is a neurodivergent condition, meaning it represents a variation in neurological functioning compared to the typical population. This distinction is important for parents to grasp as it shapes how they perceive their children's behavior and interact with them. 

Recognizing ADHD as a neurodivergent condition fosters a more empathetic and understanding approach and promotes acceptance. It also reduces the stigma within the family and broader community.

Parents also need to recognize that ADHD manifests differently in each child, and their symptoms and challenges may differ greatly. While some children may exhibit predominantly hyperactive or impulsive behaviors, others may struggle more with inattention. 

Understanding Hypermobility vs Hyperflexibility Syndrome

Hypermobility means increased joint flexibility, often accompanied by loose ligaments and connective tissues. This condition can lead to joint pain, back problems, and challenges with fine motor skills. 

In addition to joint-related issues, hypermobility can impact various aspects of a child's overall quality of life, particularly participation in physical activities. People with hypermobility may experience limitations in activities such as sports, dance, or even sitting comfortably for prolonged periods. 

As such, hypermobility can affect a child's self-esteem and emotional well-being, especially if they experience pain or limitations in their daily activities. Parents need to provide emotional support and encouragement to help their children navigate the physical and psychological aspects of living with hypermobility.  

Hypermobility and hyperflexibility are related but distinct concepts. Hyperflexibility specifically refers to the ability to bend or stretch a joint or muscle beyond its normal range. While hypermobility involves joint movement, hyperflexibility encompasses a broader range of movement in muscles and joints.

The Link Between ADHD and Hypermobility

Research suggests a significant overlap between ADHD and hypermobility, with many individuals experiencing joint pain and physical discomfort. Children may exhibit symptoms like fatigue, difficulty with posture, and chronic pain from hypermobility (Kindgren et al., 2021). 

One theory behind the connection between ADHD and hypermobility involves the role of the nervous system. Both conditions involve variations in neurological functioning, which can manifest in different ways. 

Some researchers suggest that abnormalities in the nervous system may contribute to ADHD symptoms and joint laxity observed in hypermobility. Additionally, the impact of hypermobility on a child's daily life can exacerbate symptoms of ADHD and vice versa (Baeza-Velasco et al., 2018). 

For example, hypermobility joint pain or discomfort can make it challenging for children to concentrate or sit still for extended periods, contributing to ADHD-related behaviors. Conversely, the impulsivity and hyperactivity characteristic of neurodivergence ADHD may increase the risk of joint injuries or exacerbate existing hypermobility symptoms.

The Link Between ADHD and Hypermobility

Recognizing Hypermobility and Neurodiversity Symptoms

Parents should be vigilant in recognizing neurodivergent symptoms associated with generalized hypermobility in children with ADHD. These may include high pain tolerance, joint pain, and postural issues. 

Recognizing the symptoms of ADHD hypermobility can be challenging, as they often overlap and manifest differently in each child. Parents should observe their child's behavior and physical functioning closely, noting any changes or patterns over time. The common symptoms of ADHD, such as difficulty concentrating, impulsivity, and hyperactivity, may coexist with signs of hypermobility, such as joint pain, fatigue, or clumsiness.

Moreover, parents should pay attention to how these symptoms impact their child's daily life, including academic performance, social interactions, and participation in physical activities. Children with ADHD and hypermobility may experience challenges in multiple domains, requiring a comprehensive approach to assessment and support. 

Diagnosing with the Beighton Hypermobility Scale

The Beighton's score also known as the Beighton Scale, is a clinical tool used to assess joint hypermobility. It consists of nine tests, including bending the pinky finger back beyond 90 degrees, bending the thumb to touch the forearm, and other similar maneuvers, with each successful test scoring one point. 

A higher score on the Beighton Scale indicates greater joint hypermobility. This scale is commonly used in medical settings to evaluate individuals for conditions related to joint laxity, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome and hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

Managing Hypermobility, Neurodiversity and ADHD

Seeking support from healthcare professionals, such as pediatricians, physical therapists, and occupational therapists, is crucial for managing ADHD and hypermobility issues. Exploring therapeutic interventions like physical therapy and mindfulness practices can help alleviate symptoms and enhance the overall well-being of children with these conditions.

Managing ADHD and hypermobility requires a multidisciplinary approach that addresses the unique needs of each child. Healthcare professionals can provide valuable insights and expertise in developing personalized treatment plans that integrate medical, behavioral, and therapeutic interventions. 

Physical therapists, in particular, play a crucial role in addressing the physical challenges associated with hypermobility, such as joint instability, muscle weakness, and pain management.

Additionally, parents can implement practical strategies at home to support their child's well-being. Creating a structured daily routine, providing opportunities for regular physical activity, and promoting healthy lifestyle habits can help manage symptoms of ADHD and hypermobility. Practicing stress-reduction techniques, such as mindfulness or relaxation exercises, can alleviate anxiety and improve coping skills in children with both conditions.

Ways to Support Hypermobility at Home, School and Work

Embracing Hypermobility and Neurodiversity

Understanding and embracing the unique traits and challenges of children with ADHD and hypermobility is essential. Parents should foster a supportive, inclusive environment that celebrates neurodiversity and encourages self-acceptance. 

Embracing neurodiversity involves recognizing and valuing the diverse ways in which individuals think, learn, and experience the world. Children with ADHD and hypermobility possess unique strengths and abilities that should be celebrated and nurtured. 

Furthermore, promoting neurodiversity within the family and the broader community can help reduce stigma and promote acceptance of individual differences. Educating others about ADHD and hypermobility can foster empathy and understanding and create a more supportive environment for children with these conditions.

What does hypermobile mean?

Hypermobility refers to an increased range of motion in the joints, often accompanied by loose ligaments and hyper flexible connective tissues. In the context of ADHD symptoms, hypermobility may manifest as joint pain, fatigue, and difficulties with posture. hypermobility and neurodiversity are linked by ADHD, particularly the hypermobility ADHD symptoms.

What does it mean to be hypermobile?

While being hypermobile is a physical trait, it's important to note that it can also be associated with conditions like ADHD or autism, which are characterized by neurodivergence. Signs of neurodivergence in adults and kids may include difficulties with attention, impulse control, or social interaction, which can be assessed through neurodivergence tests or evaluations.

Are people with ADHD neurodivergent?

Yes, individuals with ADHD are considered neurodivergent. The connection between hypermobile ADHD and hypermobility highlights the broader spectrum of neurodiversity within ADHD, emphasizing the multifaceted nature of the condition.

Is neurodivergent the same as ADHD?

No, neurodivergent is not the same as ADHD. Neurodivergent is an umbrella term encompassing various neurological differences, while ADHD specifically refers to a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by attention difficulties, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Autonomic dysfunction and ADHD, along with other neurodivergent symptoms in adults, may be present in some individuals, but they can also occur in other neurodivergent conditions.

Is hypermobility linked to autism? 

Yes, there is a recognized link between hypermobility and autism. Many individuals on the autism spectrum may experience hypermobility, characterized by increased joint hyperflexibility and laxity. This association underscores the intersection of physical and neurological traits related to autism and hypermobility.

Is ADD neurodivergent?

Yes, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) is considered neurodivergent. It falls under the umbrella of neurodiversity alongside ADHD. Additionally, ADHD and connective tissue disorders are prevalent, further highlighting the neurodivergent nature of the condition.

Is being double jointed real?

The term “double-jointed” is often used colloquially to describe individuals with increased joint flexibility or hypermobility. Individuals with hypermobility may have a greater range of motion in their hyperflex joints due to factors like lax ligaments or connective tissue disorders.

How to tell if you're double jointed? 

If you're double jointed meaning you have an increased range of motion in your joints beyond what is considered typical, then you’re hypermobile. For example, in the case of double jointed hips, you may notice the ability to move your hips in ways that others cannot, such as rotating them excessively or easily performing splits. 

Am I hypermobile?

Hypermobile people have excessive joint flexibility or hyperextensibility. You may notice that your joints extend beyond the normal range of motion, allowing you to perform movements that others find challenging or uncomfortable. Engaging in activities like yoga for hypermobility can help you further evaluate your flexibility and joint mobility while also providing techniques to manage any associated neurodiverse symptoms.

Am I double jointed?

People who are double jointed may be able to move their hyperextensive joints beyond the normal range of motion, such as bending their fingers backward or performing contortions with ease. If you find that you have overly flexible joints and can move them in ways that others cannot, you may indeed be considered double-jointed.

Why are people double jointed?

People may be considered doublejointed due to hypermobility, which involves an increased range of motion in the joints. This condition can be caused by factors such as neurodivergent ADHD loose ligaments, autism and connective tissue disorders. Double jointed legs, for example, may result from hypermobility in the hip, knee, or ankle joints, allowing for greater flexibility and mobility in the lower extremities.

What percentage of people are neurodivergent?

Neurodivergence is estimated to affect a significant portion of the population, with conditions like ADHD contributing to the neurodivergent spectrum. Tests for neurodivergence, including assessments for ADHD, help identify individuals who may benefit from tailored support and interventions tailored to their unique needs.


Baeza-Velasco, C., Sinibaldi, L., & Castori, M. (2018). Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, joint hypermobility-related disorders and pain: expanding body-mind connections to the developmental age. ADHD Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorders, 10(3), 163–175.

Kindgren, E., Quiñones Perez, A., & Knez, R. (2021). Prevalence of ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children with Hypermobility Spectrum Disorders or Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: A Retrospective Study. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, Volume 17, 379–388.

Dr. Roseann is a mental health expert in Neurodivergence who frequently is in the media:

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Disclaimer: This article is not intended to give health advice and it is recommended to consult with a physician before beginning any new wellness regime. *The effectiveness of diagnosis and treatment vary by patient and condition. Dr. Roseann Capanna-Hodge, LLC does not guarantee certain results.

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