BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2019 20:165

Joint hypermobility is not positively associated with prevalent multiple joint osteoarthritis: a cross-sectional study of older adults

Terese R. Gullo, Yvonne M. Golightly, Portia Flowers, Joanne M. Jordan, Jordan B. Renner, Todd A. Schwartz, Virginia B. Kraus, Marian T. Hannan, Rebecca J. Cleveland & Amanda E. Nelson
Ankle Elbow Hip Knee Shoulder


This cross-sectional study evaluated associations of joint hypermobility and multiple joint osteoarthritis (MJOA) in a community-based cohort of adults 45+ years of age.


MJOA and joint hypermobility data were from 1677 participants (mean age 69 years, 68% women) who completed research clinic visits during 2003–2010. Prevalent MJOA was defined in four ways. Radiographic OA (rOA) was defined as Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) > 2 at any included study joint; symptomatic OA (sxOA) required both symptoms and rOA in a joint. Joint hypermobility was defined as a Beighton score of > 4. Separate logistic regression models were used to estimate odds ratios (OR) between joint hypermobility and each MJOA definition, adjusting for age, sex, race, body mass index, and baseline visit.


In this cohort, 4% had Beighton score > 4 and 63% met any definition of MJOA. Joint hypermobility was associated with significantly lower odds of radiographic and symptomatic MJOA-1 (multiple joint OA-definition 1: involvement of > 1 IP (interphalangeal) nodes and > 2 sites of hip, knee, and spine; 74 and 58% lower, respectively). However, for the other MJOA definitions (i.e., MJOA-2:involvement of > 2 IP joints, > 1 carpometacarpal [CMC] joints, and knee or hip sites; MJOA-3: involvement of > 5 joint sites from among distal interphalangeal, proximal interphalangeal, CMC, hip, knee, or spine sites; and MJOA-4:involvement of > 2 lower body sites (hip, knee, or spine), there were no statistically significant associations. For associations between site-specific hypermobility and any MJOA definition, most adjusted ORs were less than one, but few were statistically significant.


Overall, joint hypermobility was not positively associated with any definition of prevalent MJOA in this cohort, and an inverse association existed with one definition of MJOA. Longitudinal studies are needed to determine the contribution of hypermobility to the incidence and progression of MJOA outcomes.

Download article