Physical and psychosocial characteristics of current child dancers and nondancers with systemic joint hypermobility: A descriptive analysis

Leslie L. Nicholson, Roger D. Adams, Louise Tofts, Verity Pacey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Study Design: Cross-sectional study. Background: The effect of current participation in dance training on joint pain and instability, fatigue, and quality of life is unknown. OBJECTIVES: 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/EDSHT) who currently undertake formal dance training and those who do not. Methods: 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. Results: 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). Conclusion: 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. 

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)782-791
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


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