Joint hypermobility is more common in children with chronic fatigue syndrome than in healthy controls

J Pediatr. 2002 Sep;141(3):421-5. doi: 10.1067/mpd.2002.127496.


Objective: To determine whether children with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have a higher prevalence of joint hypermobility than gender-matched controls.

Study design: Matched case-control study comparing the Beighton joint hypermobility scores in 58 consecutive children with CFS (incident cases) with 58 otherwise healthy controls referred to a dermatology clinic for evaluation of common skin problems. A second group of 58 patients previously diagnosed with CFS (prevalent cases) was matched by gender to the incident cases to evaluate temporal changes in referral patterns.

Results: Of the 58 patients in each group, 71% were female. The median Beighton scores were higher in incident CFS cases than in healthy controls (4 vs 1, P <.001). More incident CFS cases had Beighton scores >/=4 (consistent with joint hypermobility), 60% versus 24%, P <.0001. Incident and prevalent CFS cases had similar Beighton scores. The odds ratio for hypermobility in all patients with CFS versus healthy controls was 3.5 (P <.001; 95% CI, 1.6-7.5).

Conclusions: Joint hypermobility is more common in patients with CFS than in otherwise healthy children with common skin disorders. The etiologic significance of the observed association remains to be defined.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Baltimore / epidemiology
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / complications*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Matched-Pair Analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Statistics, Nonparametric