Joint Session: How Lipedema Leads to Hypermobility


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

Hypermobility is a common side effect of lipedema that can lead to inflammation, lymphatic dysfunction, and even dislodging of the joints overtime.  Here is what you need to know.  

If you’ve been living with lipedema, you’re more than familiar with the onslaught of physical and emotional unpleasantries, as well as life-altering side effects, that come with the fat deposition disorder.  Hypermobility of the joints and connective tissue is one of the lesser talked about side effects of lipedema you should know about.

Hypermobility and Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome
Hypermobility is the ability to move/flex joints beyond the normal range of motion and is prevalent in the lipedema community.  One study demonstrated over half of 160 lipedema patients with an average age of 50 years and a BMI averaging around 39 kg, showed hypermobile joints, suggesting a risk for future joint damage and alteration in a woman’s gait. (SOURCE: CLICKE HERE.  The hypermobility link to lipedema is known as Ehler’s-Danlos Syndrome, a perplexing connective tissue and joint disorder which encompasses approximately 13 different subtypes of connective tissue disorders.  The telltale, classic symptom of lipedema, Ehler’s-Danlos also demonstrates indications of painful, thin skin that bruises easily.

Here’s how hypermobility and Ehler’s-Danlos develop in lipedema patients:

  • A loss of elasticity in the connective tissues surrounding the joints allows fluid to collect within the fatty tissue rather than draining through the body’s lymphatic system.
  • Compromised lymph and blood flow to these connective tissues can result in metabolic waste buildup.
  • Waste buildup generates a vicious cycle of sustained inflammation and degradation of subcutaneous tissue.
  • Over time, connective fatty tissue is remolded and repaired by fibrous scar tissue during a process known as fibrosis.

This permanent scar tissue within the fat cells is what makes living with lipedema so problematic and challenging, which can lead to detrimental loosening of the joints.

What You Can Do
Living with lipedema means a persistent, lifelong commitment to treatment options to help manage/mitigate symptoms and slow the fat deposition disorder’s progression.  To keep joints healthy and secure, there are some proactive steps you can take, such as:

  • Pile your plate with fresh, wholesome food choices, such as heart-healthy, fatty fish, raw nuts, and lean protein sources.  Avoid refined sugars and processed packaged foods and guzzle 8-10 glasses of water daily to keep hydrated, satiated, and energized.
  • Incorporate low to moderate impact exercise into your daily routine, especially of the aquatic nature.  Swimming and water movements provide the perfect amount of muscle-building, bone-healthy resistance without adding unnecessary pressure to compromised joints.
  • Wear well-fitted compression garments whenever possible, especially during the day and while exercising to secure joints and encourage lymph flow.
  • Consider manual drainage massage therapy weekly to dislodge buildup, boost blood flow, and mitigate pain/pressure.
  • Add joint-supporting supplements to your diet, such as calcium, carnitine, COQ10, glucosamine, magnesium, silica, vitamin C, and vitamin K.

Because lipedema fat doesn’t respond to diet and exercise and can exacerbate if left untreated or mismanaged, the joints are constantly under threat of becoming hypermobile – and worse – dislodging.  Be sure you’re always up to date with the latest treatment innovations and therapies to help slow the progression of lipedema into the latter stages that pose a detrimental risk to the joints.

To learn more, please contact our Beverly Hills, California office to schedule a consultation with any of our highly trained specialists