Clinical Rheumatology

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 289–295 | Cite as

Joint position sense and vibratory perception sense in patients with Ehlers–Danlos syndrome type III (hypermobility type)

  • Lies Rombaut
  • Anne De Paepe
  • Fransiska Malfait
  • Ann Cools
  • Patrick Calders
Original Article


Neurophysiological deficits could make patients with Ehlers–Danlos syndrome (EDS) type III (hypermobility type) more vulnerable to musculoskeletal problems, particularly to joint instability. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether joint position sense (JPS) and vibratory perception sense (VPS) in EDS type III patients in the knee and shoulder joints are impaired. Thirty-two female EDS type III patients as defined by the Villefranche criteria and 32 individually gender- and age-matched healthy control subjects were included in the study. Range of motion was determined using a goniometer, passive and active JPS were assessed with an isokinetic dynamometer system, and the VPS was measured by a biothesiometer. Daily physical activity was evaluated by the Baecke questionnaire. The EDS type III group showed significantly larger ranges of movement (P < 0.05) and lower levels of sport physical activity (SPA) compared to the control group (P = 0.023). Considering SPA as covariate, the EDS type III group demonstrated a significant impairment in knee joint reposition compared to the control group (P = 0.018). No significant differences were found for shoulder JPS. The VPS was not significantly different in the EDS type III group compared to the control group. In addition, no significant correlation was found between JPS and VPS, neither at the knee nor at the shoulder joint. This is the first study examining proprioception deficits in EDS type III patients as defined by the Villefranche criteria. Further research on the neurophysiological dysfunctions and mechanisms in this pathologic entity is needed.


Connective tissue disorder Ehlers–Danlos syndrome Joint hypermobility Joint position sense Proprioception Vibratory perception sense 


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Copyright information

© Clinical Rheumatology 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lies Rombaut
    • 1
  • Anne De Paepe
    • 2
  • Fransiska Malfait
    • 2
  • Ann Cools
    • 3
  • Patrick Calders
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Artevelde University CollegeGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  2. 2.Centre for Medical GeneticsGhent University HospitalGhentBelgium
  3. 3.Department of Rehabilitation Sciences and Physiotherapy, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesGhent UniversityGhentBelgium

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