Journal of Sports Medicine & Doping Studies

ISSN: 2161-0673

Open Access

Association between Joint Hypermobility Syndrome and Developmental Coordination Disorder – A Review


Carol J Clark and Ahmed D Khattab

Introduction: The term joint hypermobility syndrome (JHS) was adopted after clinicians became aware of the myriad of symptoms associated with this multisystemic condition. JHS is an inherited disorder of connective tissues affecting the musculoskeletal and visceral systems which may contribute to a reduction in health related physical fitness. Pain associated with JHS may be influenced by hypermobility and biomechanical dysfunction. Biomechanical dysfunction observed in patients with JHS may be as a result of impaired motor control and in particular developmental coordination disorder (DCD). DCD (described in the literature utilising the terms clumsy child syndrome; perceptual motor dysfunction; dyspraxia) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterised by coordination difficulties affecting function. The objective of this review is to examine the association between hypermobility, JHS, motor control impairment and DCD.

Methods and data sources: EMBASE, MEDLINE, CINAHL, ASSIA, PsychARTICLES, SPORTDiscus and PsycINFO from 1989 - 2009. Research articles written in English and peer reviewed were included.

Results: Five research papers were identified. The studies employed a variety of methodologies and assessment tools for reporting joint hypermobility, JHS, motor delay, motor impairments and DCD. All five studies reported on children between the ages of six months and 12 years. Three out of four studies reported on association between impaired motor development, motor delay and joint hypermobility. There was no consensus as to whether motor delay, impaired motor development and joint hypermobility continued as the child matured. One study ascertained that children with JHS reported similar functional difficulties as children with DCD.

Conclusion: There was a paucity of literature relating to an association between joint hypermobility, JHS, impaired motor control, motor delay and DCD in children, there was no literature pertaining to adults. This association requires further exploration if professionals are to understand, nurture and manage those reporting these associated conditions.


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