University of Hertfordshire, School of Health and Human Social Work, Hatfield, UK
University College London, Institute of Child Health, London, UK
Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, Hypermobility Unit, London, UK
Imperial College London, MSK Lab, School of Medicine, London, UK
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Physiotherapists play a fundamental role in managing adults with hypermobility and hypermobility syndrome (HMS). Access to training and its influence on the physiotherapy treatment of hypermobile adults is unknown. OBJECTIVES: The purpose of this study was to: i) Explore UK physiotherapists’ knowledge of hypermobility and HMS in adults. ii) Establish the relationship between knowledge and training or experience. iii) Investigate the future training preferences of physiotherapists in this area. DESIGN: A nationwide online survey. METHODS: A cross-sectional survey design collected quantitative and qualitative data. A validated hypermobility questionnaire was adapted and distributed as a self-administered electronic survey. A panel of expert practitioners confirmed face validity. PARTICIPANTS: UK physiotherapists, experienced in treating adults with musculoskeletal conditions were invited to participate via purposive and snowball sampling of relevant professional networks and clinical interest groups. ANALYSIS: Microsoft Excel and SPSS were used to analyse data. Chi-squared analysis was used to explore relevant associations. Thematic coding of qualitative data was quantitatively analysed. RESULTS: 244 Physiotherapists participated. A significant association was found between training and knowledge of HMS (P < 0.001). Furthermore, training was associated with increased clinical confidence in both assessment (P < 0.001), and management (P < 0.001) of the condition. However, 51% of physiotherapists reported having no training in hypermobility, only 10% had undergone training in hypermobility at undergraduate level and 95% requested further training. CONCLUSION: There are significant gaps in training received by UK physiotherapists’ in the assessment and management of HMS, despite the significant association observed between training and the degree of clinical confidence and knowledge reported.