Do you have joints that move beyond the normal range of motion? A new study has revealed that individuals with joint hypermobility, often known as being "double jointed," are more likely to suffer from persistent fatigue linked to long COVID.

Long COVID refers to the long-term effects associated with an acute infection of SARS-CoV-2. It includes a wide range of ongoing health problems such as fatigue, joint or muscular pain, fever, respiratory issues, headaches, palpitations, difficulty thinking, altered smell or taste, diarrhea, stomach pain, depression, and anxiety.

Researchers have known that certain risk factors such as age and pre-existing health conditions including fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, migraine, allergies, anxiety, depression, and back pain raise the risk of long COVID.

Dr. Jessica Eccles, leading the latest study at the University of Sussex, and her team were exploring a possible connection between hypermobility, myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS), and fibromyalgia (a condition characterized by widespread body pain) amid the pandemic. Along with researchers from King's College London, they decided to examine if hypermobility is also a potential factor in long COVID.

The team analyzed data from 3,064 participants in the Zoe Health study to understand if individuals with hypermobile joints completely recovered from their most recent COVID-19 episode and if they experienced any lingering fatigue following the infection.

The study published in the journal BMJ indicated that individuals with hypermobile joints had a 30% higher chance of not fully recovering from COVID-19 and experiencing persistent fatigue associated with long COVID.

Since the study is observational, hypermobility cannot be seen as a causal factor of long COVID.

Around 30% of adults have hypermobility. In most cases, affected joints are knees, elbows, wrists, shoulders, and fingers. The condition is common among children when the connective tissues are not completely developed.

Typically, hypermobile joints manifest without any other underlying health issues and are called benign hypermobility syndrome. The condition can stem from various reasons, including variations in bone shape or the depth of joint sockets, differences in muscle tone or strength, impairments in proprioception, which involves sensing the extent of your stretching, and a family history of hypermobility.