Epidemiology of generalised joint laxity (hypermobility) in 14 year old children from the UK: A population-based evaluation
Clinch, J., Deere, K., Sayers, A., Palmer, S., Riddoch, C., Tobias, J. and Clark, E. (2011) Epidemiology of generalised joint laxity (hypermobility) in 14 year old children from the UK: A population-based evaluation. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 63 (9). pp. 2819-2827. ISSN 0004-3591
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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/art.30435
Although diagnostic criteria for generalised ligamentous laxity (hypermobility) in children are widely used, they may have limited validity as robust descriptive epidemiology of this condition is lacking. We used a large population-based birth cohort to describe the point prevalence and pattern of hypermobility in children aged 14 years. We performed a cross-sectional analysis of the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC). Hyperrmobility was measured at aged 14 years using the Beighton scoring system. Objective measures of physical activity were collected by accelerometry. Data were collected on other variables including puberty and socio-economic status. Simple prevalence was calculated. Chi-squared tests and logistic regression were used to assess associations between variables and hypermobility. 6022 children were evaluated. Using a cut-off of ≥4, the prevalence of hypermobilty in girls and boys aged 13.8 years was 27.5% and 10.6% respectively. 45% of girls and 29% of boys had hypermobile fingers. There was a suggestion of a positive association between hypermobility in girls and variables including physical activity, body mass index and maternal education. No associations were seen in boys. We have shown that the prevalence of hypermobility in UK children is high; possibly suggesting that the Beighton cut off is too low or that the score is not appropriate in a developing musculoskeletal system. These results give a platform to evaluate the relationships between the Beighton criteria and key clinical features (including pain), thereby testing the clinical validity of this score in the childhood population.