Objective: To evaluate the validity of the Beighton score as a generalized measure of hypermobility and to measure the prevalence of hypermobility and pain in a random population of school age children.
Study design: Prospective study of 551 children attending various Dutch elementary schools participated; 47% were males (258) and 53% (293) females, age range was 6 to 12 years. Children's joints and movements were assessed according to the Beighton score by qualified physiotherapists and by use of goniometry measuring 16 passive ranges of motion of joints on both sides of the body.
Results: More than 35% of children scored more than 5/9 on the Beighton score. Children who scored high on the Beighton score also showed increased range of motion in the other joints measured. Moreover 12.3% of children had symptoms of joint pain, and 9.1% complained of pain after exercise or sports. Importantly, this percentage was independent of the Beighton score. There were no significant differences in Beighton score for sex in this population.
Conclusion: The Beighton score, when goniometry is used, is a valid instrument to measure generalized joint mobility in school-age children 6 to 12 years. No extra items are needed to improve the scale.
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