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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Ehlers-Danlos syndrome


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What are the signs and symptoms of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome?

There are six major types of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS). Although there is significant overlap in associated features, the subtypes are classified based on their unique signs and symptoms:[1][2]
  • Hypermobility type - characterized primarily by joint hypermobility affecting both large (elbows, knees) and small (fingers, toes) joints which may lead to recurrent joint dislocations and subluxations (partial dislocation). Affected people generally experience skin involvement (soft, smooth and velvety skin with easy bruising) and chronic pain of the muscles and/or bones, as well.
  • Classic type - associated with extremely elastic (stretchy), smooth skin that is fragile and bruises easily; wide, atrophic scars (flat or depressed scars); and joint hypermobility. Molluscoid pseudotumors (calcified hematomas over pressure points such as the elbow) and spheroids (fat-containing cysts on forearms and shins) are frequently diagnosed in affected people. Hypotonia and delayed motor development may occur, as well.
  • Vascular type - characterized by thin, translucent skin that is extremely fragile and bruises easily. Arteries and certain organs such as the intestines and uterus are also fragile and prone to rupture. Affected people typically have short stature; thin scalp hair; and characteristic facial features including large eyes, a thin nose and lobeless ears. Joint hypermobility is present, but generally confined to the small joints (fingers, toes). Other common features include club foot; tendon and/or muscle rupture; acrogeria (premature aging of the skin of the hands and feet); early onset varicose veins; pneumothorax (collapse of a lung); gingival (gums) recession; and a decreased amount of subcutaneous (under the skin) fat.
  • Kyphoscoliosis type - associated with severe hypotonia at birth, delayed motor development, progressive scoliosis (present from birth), and scleral fragility. Affected people may also have easy bruising; fragile arteries that are prone to rupture; unusually small cornia; and osteopenia (low bone density). Other common features include a "marfanoid habitus" which is characterized by long, slender fingers (arachnodactyly); unusually long limbs; and a sunken chest (pectus excavatum) or protruding chest (pectus carinatum).
  • Dermatosparaxis type - associated with extremely fragile skin leading to severe bruising and scarring; saggy, redundant skin, especially on the face; and hernias.

For more information on each subtype, please click on the links above. You can also find more detailed information on Medscape Reference's Web site or the Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation's Web site.

Although other forms of the condition exist, they are extremely rare and are not well-characterized.
Last updated: 5/21/2015

  1. Defendi GL. Genetics of Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. Medscape Reference. August, 2015;
  2. Pauker SP & Stoler J. Clinical manifestations and diagnosis of Ehlers-Danlos syndromes. UpToDate. February 22, 2016;

Other Names for this Disease
  • ED syndrome
  • EDS
  • Ehlers Danlos syndrome
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