n African Journal for Physical Health Education, Recreation and Dance - Sex differences in the nine-point Beighton hypermobility test scores : physical activity and fitness

Special issue 1
  • ISSN : 1117-4315


Joint hypermobility syndromes are often misinterpreted and wrongly diagnosed. Widely accepted naming such as Heritable Disorder of Connective Tissue has been shown to manifest features that closely overlap with better known disorders such as Marfan and Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and Osteogenesis Imperfecta. Currently the widely accepted - all-inclusive - diagnosis for generalised hypermobility is known as Benign Joint Hypermobility Syndrome (BJHS). People that do not have pain in their joints but still have lax joints are just considered to be hypermobile. It is currently understood that these are genetic-based conditions where connective tissue proteins such as collagen are formed differently. This results in the joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments being laxer and more fragile than is the case in non-hypermobile individuals. The aim of this study was to investigate possible differences in the occurrence of BJHS between males and females from a representative sample of a general population (aged 18-25). Testing was done on 300 recruits and 180 university students. The sample consisted of 55% males and 45% females. All subjects were tested using the 9-point Beighton criteria for diagnosis of BJHS, with scores of 4/9 and greater being indicative of BJHS. All data were pooled and differences were observed when comparing male and female Beighton test scores. Results showed 36.41% incidence for females compared to 13.96% for males (p ≤ 0.05). These differences may be due to hormonal influence on the laxity of tendons and ligaments. Furthermore it can also question the efficiency with which the Beighton score distinguishes between BJHS and general joint flexibility.

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