Double-jointed teens at risk for joint pain

28 February 2013

Double-jointed teenagers are twice as likely to develop joint pain as they get older, a study in the UK suggests.

Researchers found adolescents who are double-jointed are particularly at risk of musculoskeletal pain in the shoulders, knees, ankles and feet.

Studies into joint pain in young people with double joints – known medically as hypermobility – have been mixed, with some specifically linking joint pain to the condition but others finding it no more common in both children with and without it.

So a team at the University of Bristol set out to determine whether double-jointed adolescents are at risk of developing musculoskeletal pain in a study funded by Arthritis Research UK.

They recruited nearly 3,000 volunteers from a long-term health research project known as Children of the 90s and found that double-jointedness was associated with approximately a two-fold increased risk of moderately severe pain at the shoulder, knee, ankle and foot.

The increased risk was found to be particularly marked in obese children who were double-jointed, with over a ten-fold increased risk of knee pain.

Professor Jon Tobias, who led the study, said: "We believe that establishing joint hypermobility as a contributory factor to musculoskeletal pain in older teenagers is significant, and may lead to better treatment for affected youngsters, including physiotherapy and exercise programmes."

The research was published in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Posted by Jeanette Royston

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