A simple questionnaire to detect hypermobility: an adjunct to the assessment of patients with diffuse musculoskeletal pain

Int J Clin Pract. 2003 Apr;57(3):163-6.


The aim of the study was to develop a simple and reproducible self-reporting questionnaire that identifies individuals with hypermobility. Two hundred and twelve consecutive hypermobile female new attendees to the hypermobility clinic at two London teaching hospitals and a random selection of 57 healthy volunteers completed a 10-part questionnaire. Questions were selected from clinical experience (RG), and assessed musculoskeletal symptoms and past and present physical agility. Of the 212 cases, 30 were hypermobile with no other underlying disorder and 182 fulfilled the 1998 Brighton criteria for benign joint hypermobility syndrome (BJHS). Odds ratios for the presence of hypermobility were calculated for each question. Six questions were found to be significant and the model of 'best fit' for sensitivity and specificity contained five of these. To demonstrate the reproducibility of the five-part questionnaire a second cohort of 170 hypermobile cases with BJHS and 50 controls was surveyed. Analysis demonstrated that a positive answer to any two questions in the five-part questionnaire gave the highest combined sensitivity and specificity for detecting hypermobility. The sensitivity and specificity was 84% and 89% respectively in the first cohort and reproduced with values of 84% and 80% in the second cohort. Overall the questionnaire correctly identified 84% of all cases and controls. This simple and reproducible questionnaire for detecting hypermobility could be of particular use as an adjunct in the clinical assessment of chronic, diffuse pain syndromes where hypermobility is often missed yet is potentially treatable.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / diagnosis*
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires / standards*