Joint Hypermobility in South Indian Children

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Joint Hypermobility in South Indian Children
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  INDIAN PEDIATRICS VOLUME 33-SEPTEMBER 1996 771  Brief Reports   Joint Hypermobility in South Indian Children Vedavati Subramanyam K.Y. Janaki  Joint hypermobility, also known as joint laxity, is defined as a range of motion in excess of normal and, common enough to evoke curiosity(l). Hypermobility is often seen as a benign condition in children which reduces with increasing age(2). A higher prevalence of joint hypermobility is reported in the oriental races(2). We report the prevalence of joint hypermobility in 1000 school children from South India.   Subjects and Methods   One thousand children between the ages of 6 and 15 years from 5 different Corporation Schools in Madras were included. There were equal number of boys and girls. All the children in the class were included except those with Grades III or IV malnutrition, Down's syndrome, Ehlers-Danlos syndrome or any musculoskeletal disorders.   Joint hypermobility was evaluated using the Carter-Wilkinson's scoring method(3): (i)  Passive apposition of thumbs to the flexor aspect of forearms; (ii) Hyperextension of fingers so that they lie parallel with the extensor aspect of forearms; (iii) Hyperextension of elbow greater than 10°; (iv) Hyperextension of knee greater than   From the CHILDS Trust Hospital 12-A, Nageswara  Road, Nungnmbnkkmn, Madras 600 034.    Reprint requests: Dr. Vedavati Subramanyam, Pediatric Consultant The CHILDS Trust  Hospital, 12-A, Nagesivnra Road,  Nungambakkam, Madras 600 034.    Received for publication: March 29,1995;  Accepted: February 18, 1996    10°; and (v) Flexion of trunk with knees extended, so that the palms rest on the floor.   A child could score two points, one for each side, for each of the first 4 items and one point for the last item. Children scoring 4 or more points out of the maximum of 9 were considered to have joint hypermobility. The examinations in all the 1000 children were conducted by one of the authors (KVJ).   Results   Of the 1000 children, the prevalence of hypermobility seen in various age groups is shown in Table I. The overall prevalence of benign hypermobility of the joints for both boys and girls was 17.2%.   There were 71 (65%) boys who had hypermobility compared to 38 (35%) girls in the age group of 6-10 years and 26 (41%) boys compared to 37 (59%) girls in the age group of 11 to 15 years. There was a statistically significant difference between boys and girls and between the two age groups (p = 0.003)   Discussion   Joint hypermobility is a common TABLE I -Prevalence of Hypermobility of joints in South Indian Children Aged 6-15 Years   Age Boys Girls   (yrs) n=500 (%) n=500 (%)   6   18 (3.6) 5 (1.0) 7   16 (3.2) 8 (1.6) 8   13 (2.6) 11 (2.2) 9   18 (3.6) 6 (1.2) 10   6 (1.2) 8 (1.6) 11   5 (1.0) 5 (1.0) 12   8 (1.6) 6 (1.2) 13   7 (1.4) 6 (1.2) 14   2 (0.4) 14 (2.8) 15   4 (0.8) 6 (1.2)  INDIAN PEDIATRICS VOLUME 33-SEPTEMBER 1996 772 BRIEF REPORTS  clinical finding and is asymptomatic in majority of children. In general, girls have greater mobility of joints than boys of same age, ranges are greater in the non dominant limb and Asians show more mobility than whites (2). However, in our study boys had greater hypermobility in the age group of 6 to 10 years, and vice versa in the age group of 11 to 15 years, (p = 0.003). Carter and Wilkinson showed hypermobility in 7% of 285 healthy children aged 6 to 11 years(3). In the present study, 17.2% of children showed hypermobility of joints. These were all normal school going children and were apparently asymptomatic. Recognition of hypermobility syndrome itself in a child with previously mysterious aches and pains, prevents over investigation and over use of drugs. Symptoms generally resolve in late adolescence when the periarticular tissue develops resistance. Physical activity should not be restricted unless the child is over indulging in gymnastics, competitive sports or dancing. The advice of a physiotherapist is often required in patients having symptoms of joint pain. Joint hypermobility is associated with an increased incidence of motor delay in   infancy(4). Excessive foot dorsiflexion, hip abduction and elbow hyperextension are particularly associated with developmental delay. The delay is usually transient and most patients recover by the third year of life.   Acknowledgements   We thank the authorities of the Corporation Schools of Madras at Nugambakkam for help in conducting the study and Dr. N. Deivanayagam, Professor of Pediatrics and Head of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology, Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children, Madras for his guidance in the analysis of data. REFERENCES 1.   Arroyo IL, Brewer EJ, Giannini EH. Arthritis/arthralgia and hypermobility of the joints in school children. J Rheumatol 1988,15: 978-980. 2.   Annotation. Hypermobility of joints. Arch Dis Child 1987, 62:1-2. 3.   Carter CO, Wlkinson J, Persistent joint laxity and congenital dislocation of hip. J Bone Joint Surg (Br) 1964, 46: 40-45. 4.   Jaffe M, Tirosh E, Cohen A, Taub Y. Joint mobility and motor development. Arch Dis Child 1988, 63:158-161.
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