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Double-Jointed Adolescents Risk Musculoskeletal Pain

THURSDAY, March 7 (HealthDay News) -- Joint hypermobility (JH) increases the risk of musculoskeletal pain in adolescence, particularly in the shoulder, knee, and ankle/foot, according to a study published online Feb. 28 in Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Jonathan H. Tobias, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom, and colleagues determined JH using the Beighton score at age 13.6 years in children (1,267 boys and 1,634 girls) participating in a longitudinal study. A cut-off of 6 or more was used to determine JH. A questionnaire was used to assess musculoskeletal pain at age 17.8 years.

The researchers found that 4.6 percent of participants had JH at age 13.8 years. At age 17.8 years, moderately troublesome musculoskeletal pain was reported most commonly at the lower back (16.1 percent), upper back (8.9 percent), neck (8.6 percent), shoulder (9.5 percent), knee (8.8 percent), and ankle/foot (6.8 percent). There was an increased risk of at least moderately troublesome musculoskeletal pain with JH at the shoulder, knee, and ankle/foot, adjusting for gender, maternal education and body mass index. No relationship was observed at the spine, elbows, hands, or hips. Associations between JH and knee pain were significantly higher in obese participants versus non-obese patients.

"JH represents a risk factor for musculoskeletal pain in adolescence, comprising a specific distribution namely the shoulder, knee, and ankle/foot," the authors write.

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