Physical and Psychosocial Characteristics of Current Child Dancers and Nondancers With Systemic Joint Hypermobility: A Descriptive Analysis

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Cross-sectional study.


The effect of current participation in dance training on joint pain and instability, fatigue, and quality of life is unknown.


To examine differences in joint pain, instability, gross motor skills, nonmusculoskeletal systemic manifestations, health-related quality of life (HRQoL), and fatigue between children with joint hypermobility syndrome/Ehlers-Danlos syndrome-hypermobility type (JHS/EDS-HT) who currently undertake formal dance training and those who do not.


Children with JHS/EDS-HT and 1 parent completed reports providing data on demographic variables, symptoms, organized activity participation, HRQoL, and fatigue. Physical and functional measures included extent of hypermobility, aerobic fitness, balance, and muscle endurance.


Of the 102 participating children, 22 currently undertook dance classes, averaging 3.3 h/wk. While the dancers reported a number of painful joints similar to that reported by nondancers (mean ± SD, 5.5 ± 3.7 versus 6.4 ± 3.9 joints, respectively; P = .36), they reported significantly lower pain levels on a 0-to-10 scale (3.8 ± 3.3 versus 5.6 ± 3.4, P = .04) and found pain to be less problematic, affecting less of their body. They reported fewer unstable joints (1.0 ± 1.0 versus 2.0 ± 1.8 joints, P = .001), despite being more hypermobile (Beighton score, 7.3 ± 1.4 versus 6.6 ± 1.6 on a 9-point scale, P = .047; Lower Limb Assessment Score, 9.2 ± 2.0 versus 8.1 ± 1.9 on a 12-point scale, P = .02). The dancers had significantly better HRQoL in the subdomain of school functioning (P = .004) and reported less fatigue (P = .024).


Children with JHS/EDS-HT who are currently undertaking formal dance training have fewer joint pain and instability symptoms, less fatigue, and better HRQoL; however, the crosssectional nature of the study means that causation cannot be determined.


Therapy, level 2b.

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