Survey on joint hypermobility in university students aged 18-25 years old

Adv Rheumatol. 2018 May 24;58(1):3. doi: 10.1186/s42358-018-0008-x.


Background: Joint hypermobility is defined as a wide range of movements beyond the physiological limits, it has been recognized in healthy people, gymnasts, acrobats, and carriers of genetic affections of connective tissue. A survey among young adults was conducted to describe the frequency of joint hypermobility, estimating its impact on function and quality of life.

Methods: Volunteer university students aged 18 to 25 years old who answered a valid 5-item questionnaire about hypermobility, a physical activity questionnaire, and the Brazilian version of the Medical Outcome Survey Short Form 36 (SF-36) were included. Hypermobility was also assessed by a guided self-examination, with Beighton's criteria being scored and scores greater than or equal to 4 or less than 4 being discriminated.

Results: A total of 388 subjects were included, of which 299 were women (77.06%) and 89 were men (22.94%); the median age was 23 years old. Generalized joint hypermobility (Beighton score ≥ 4) was observed in 104 individuals (26.8%). Localized hypermobility (Beighton score 1-3) was observed in 135 (34.79%) individuals, where the hypermobility of the 5th finger was the most frequent in 165 (57.47%) individuals, followed by hypermobility of the thumb in 126 (32.56%) individuals, hypermobility of the elbows and knees each in 72 (18.6%) individuals, and hypermobility of the spine in 69 (17.79%) individuals. The descriptive observation of physical activity indicated regular practice. The correlation coefficients between the SF-36 domains and hypermobility scores were very low and statistical comparison not significant.

Conclusion: In this population of youngsters, predominantly women, localized hypermobility was more frequent than generalized hypermobility; however, with low impact on health domains and quality of life scores, estimated in each domain of the SF-36, the physical and mental component scores, and the time dedicated to physical activity.

Keywords: Generalized hypermobility; Joint hypermobility; Localized hypermobility; SF-36 health questionnaire.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Health Surveys / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / classification
  • Joint Instability / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Quality of Life
  • Sex Distribution
  • Students / statistics & numerical data*
  • Universities
  • Young Adult