Navigating Life with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: The Role of Exercise and Functional Patterns

Navigating Life with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: The Role of Exercise and Functional Patterns


Ehlers-Danlos syndrome is a complex connective tissue disorder that challenges your quality of life. Finding effective ways to address this condition is essential. In this article, we will explore common Ehlers-Danlos syndrome symptoms, the importance of targeted physical training, and how Functional Patterns can change your approach to living with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome.

Understanding Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome:

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome encompasses a group of conditions characterized by joint hypermobility, stretchy skin, and various other symptoms. To delve deeper into the specifics of EDS and its various subtypes, let's reference an informative article: "23 Signs You Grew Up With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome." This article highlights 23 Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome symptoms that provide valuable insights into this condition:

  1. High flexibility of joints
  2. Clumsiness
  3. Frequent tripping or falling
  4. Frequent joint dislocations, especially of the knee or elbow
  5. Ability to bend fingers or thumb backward
  6. Increased frequency of fracturing bones
  7. Hyperextended knees
  8. Feeling you are double-jointed
  9. Fear of relaxing your joints for fear of dislocation
  10. Frequent dizzy or fainting spells
  11. Fewer wrinkles
  12. Frequent foot problems, especially pain and discomfort
  13. Digestive issues like bloating, diarrhea, nausea, acid reflux
  14. Extreme fatigue
  15. Holding a pen or pencil differently to avoid pain, discomfort, or dislocation of your finger joint
  16. Take longer to complete everyday activities
  17. Increased likelihood of migraine, vision issues, or postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (POTS)
  18. Chronic body pain at a young age
  19. Running with a different gait than others
  20. Picky about the clothing you wear to protect your sensitive skin
  21. Joints make a clicking or popping noise
  22. Growing pain in the ankles
  23. Inability to run fast

Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Treatments:

In the article 23 Signs You Grew Up With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome mentions: “Physical therapy may be recommended to strengthen muscles and stabilize joints”. This is partially true. In our view, physical training is essential for managing Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Many studies, such as one conducted by the British Medical Bulletin, have concluded:“Long-term exercise and physical training cause connective tissue remodeling and increased tendon collagen in both animal and human models”.

While physical training is indeed crucial, the key lies in specificity. Not all physical therapies are equally effective, and in the case of a complex condition such as Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, specificity is paramount. 

Addressing Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Symptoms with Functional Patterns:

Many symptoms mentioned in the article 23 Signs You Grew Up With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome have been improved through Functional Patterns training. FP,  while not conventionally physical therapy, is recognized as a powerful physical training modality due to its track record of success stories.

Take Ryan for instance, who has been working with FP practitioner Victor Kravutske. Ryan was diagnosed with Ehlers-Daos syndrome and struggled with multiple pains in his neck, hip, knee, lower back, and SI joint. Below we can see clear, definitive changes on his structure, which has led to Ryan moving pain-free.

When Ryan began training FP, his posture displayed protruding scapulas (scapular winging), which indicated unstable shoulders. His posture also displayed underdeveloped abdominals and back extensors, which indicated several muscle imbalances. 

Prior to FP, Ryan  had been doing different movement modalities that did not address this issue, including yoga, physical therapy, massage therapy, and more. However, through FP training, he has successfully enhanced his body to stand and move better through space. 

Understanding the Importance of Biomechanics for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: 

Tailored treatment is essential for managing Ehlers-Danlos syndrome effectively. In 23 Signs You Grew Up With Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, the article mentions different variants of genes that make up this condition. In our view, the same type of attention to variants should be made for physical therapy. 

The key to effectively managing Ehlers-Danlos syndrome lies in finding an approach that directly targets postural and movement inefficiencies. In this pursuit, Functional Patterns excels by offering a comprehensive strategy that builds up postural and movement capacity in any age group or skill level. 

The Functional Patterns 10 Week Online Course centers on a first-principles approach to exercise and strength training. It addresses a range of postural and movement issues, many of which are commonly found in people with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. These issues, such as clumsiness and hypermobile joints are intricately linked to biomechanical inefficiencies.

A cornerstone of Functional Patterns is the introduction of the ‘Big Four’: standing, walking, running, and throwing. These fundamental movement patterns play a pivotal role in addressing Ehlers-Danlos syndrome symptoms. While there are many exercises that challenge the body (biking, yoga, traditional weightlifting. etc), what sets training the Big Four apart is its unique ability not only to challenge the body but also to facilitate smoother, more efficient movement with reduced pain.


While this condition is complex, it is clear that Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome symptoms have postural and movement qualities that can be remedied through precise physical training. This requires careful consideration and a holistic approach. The specificity of treatment, as exemplified by Functional Patterns, can significantly change your movement quality despite the challenges posed by Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome.

Alex Tardioli, Peter Malliaras, Nicola Maffulli, Immediate and short-term effects of exercise on tendon structure: biochemical, biomechanical and imaging responses, British Medical Bulletin, Volume 103, Issue 1, September 2012, Pages 169–202,


Watson, B. (2023, May 31). 23 signs you grew up with Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Xcode Life. 


Back to blog