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Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome – Skin hyperextensibility

 

One of the characteristic features of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS) is skin hyperextensibility. This means that the skin is more stretchy or elastic than normal. Here are some details about this symptom:

 

Stretchy skin: Individuals with EDS often have skin that can be stretched beyond the typical range. This can be observed by gently pulling on the skin, which may stretch easily and then return to its original position. The skin may feel soft and velvety to the touch.

 

Fragile skin: Although the skin is stretchy, it is also prone to fragility. This means that it can be more easily injured or damaged, leading to bruising, tearing, or splitting. Minor trauma or friction against the skin may cause cuts, abrasions, or wounds.

 

Scarring: Due to the fragility of the skin, wounds in individuals with EDS may heal more slowly and leave noticeable scars. These scars may be wider, thicker, or more pronounced than typical scars.

 

Joint hypermobility: Skin hyperextensibility often occurs in conjunction with joint hypermobility. EDS affects the connective tissues in the body, including those that support the joints. As a result, individuals with EDS may have joints that can move beyond the normal range, leading to joint instability and an increased risk of dislocations.

 

Other skin-related symptoms: In addition to hyperextensibility, individuals with EDS may experience other skin-related symptoms such as easy bruising, translucent skin (where the veins may be more visible), and slow wound healing.

 

It's important to note that skin hyperextensibility is a common feature in some subtypes of EDS, particularly in the classic type (EDS type I and II) and the hypermobile type (EDS type III). However, not all individuals with EDS will have skin hyperextensibility, as the symptoms can vary among different subtypes and even among individuals with the same subtype. A proper diagnosis should be made by a healthcare professional familiar with EDS based on a thorough evaluation of clinical signs, family history, and potentially genetic testing.

 

Physical therapy – Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

 

Physical therapy can be a valuable part of the treatment plan for individuals with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS), particularly for those with joint hypermobility and chronic joint pain. The goals of physical therapy for EDS are to improve joint stability, reduce pain, and improve functional mobility.

 

A physical therapist experienced in treating EDS will typically perform a thorough evaluation of the individual's joint range of motion, strength, and overall function. Based on this evaluation, they will develop a personalized treatment plan that may include a combination of stretching, strengthening exercises, and manual therapy techniques.

 

For individuals with hypermobile joints, physical therapy will often focus on strengthening the muscles around the joint to provide increased stability and reduce the risk of joint dislocation or subluxation. Strengthening exercises will typically focus on the core, hips, and other areas that can affect joint alignment.

 

Manual therapy techniques, such as joint mobilization and soft tissue mobilization, may also be used to improve joint mobility and reduce pain. Other interventions such as bracing, taping, and orthotics may also be recommended as part of the treatment plan.

 

It's important to note that physical therapy for EDS should be carefully tailored to the individual's specific symptoms and sub-type of EDS. Working with a physical therapist who has experience in treating EDS can help ensure that the treatment plan is safe and effective.

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