The Beighton Score as a measure of generalised joint hypermobility

Rheumatol Int. 2021 Oct;41(10):1707-1716. doi: 10.1007/s00296-021-04832-4. Epub 2021 Mar 18.


The Beighton Score (BS) is a set of manoeuvres in a nine-point scoring system, used as the standard method of assessment for Generalised Joint Hypermobility (GJH). It was originally developed as an epidemiological tool used in screening large populations for GJH, but later adopted as a clinical tool for diagnostic purposes. Its ability to truly reflect GJH remains controversial, as joints within the scoring system are predominantly of the upper limb and disregard many of the major joints, preventing a direct identification of GJH. Furthermore, a consistent finding in the literature whereby the BS failed to identify hypermobility in joints outside the scoring system suggests its use as an indirect indicator of GJH is also not viable. As such, the collective findings of this review demonstrate a need for a change in clinical thinking. The BS should not be used as the principle tool to differentiate between localised and generalised hypermobility, nor used alone to exclude the presence of GJH. Greater emphasis should be placed on a clinician's judgement to identify or exclude GJH, according to its full definition.

Keywords: Beighton score; Ehlers–Danlos Syndrome; Generalised joint hypermobility; Joint hypermobility; Joint hypermobility syndrome; Range of motion; articular.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Joint Instability / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Physical Examination / standards
  • Reproducibility of Results