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Musculoskeletal disorders in Down syndrome

There is almost not a person in the world that has never heard of Down syndrome or has never seen a person who is affected by it. People with the syndrome experience a lot of health problems and are more prone to various diseases and conditions. Problems with joints and bones are pretty common as well. The main cause in almost all of these conditions is due to the abnormal collagen found in Down syndrome. People need to know that collagen is highly important because that protein makes up ligaments, tendons, cartilage and bone. One of the types of collagen is encoded by the gene found in the 21st chromosome. Due to that fact people with Down syndrome have increased looseness of the ligaments that connect the bones with other bones or muscles to the bones. This is one of the main reasons why people with Down syndrome have so much orthopedic problems. However, people need to know that not all of people with the syndrome have health problems due to this looseness. Spine

One of the most common conditions when spine is considered with people who are affected by Down syndrome is Atlatoaxial instability. This condition is the looseness between the first and the second vertebrae of the neck. Apart from this condition, one other is pretty common and that is scoliosis. This condition seems to be more common in people with Down syndrome but the actual cause is not known.


Arthritis is an inflammation of the joint. It is usually characterized by pain and swelling of that joint. On the other hand, arthropathy is a disease of the joint but it is not inflammatory. There are a lot of causes that lead to artropathy. It is a known fact that people who have Down syndrome suffer from joint problems more often but it still remains unknown whether or not there is an increase in the incidence of auto-immune arthritis. It was even recommended that the new condition be named as “Arthropathy of Down syndrome”. People should also know that there is no difference in treatment of arthritis in people who have Down syndrome and people who do not. Hypermobility of the joints is the main cause of joint pain in people with Down syndrome if the pains are not inflammatory. Psoriasis and gout are other common causes of joint pain. Adults with Down syndrome have a lower bone density than people who do not have the syndrome, and that is why they are under more risk of suffering from osteoporosis.

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