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Being Double-Jointed May Protect Your Joints

Less likely to suffer osteoarthritis in fingers

TUESDAY, July 6, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Being double-jointed may protect your hand joints from osteoarthritis, claims a Duke University Medical Center study in the July issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

The researchers examined 1,043 people, aged 40 to 96, in the United States and United Kingdom. All the people were from families with at least two siblings with confirmed osteoarthritis (OA). Of the study participants, 129 were double-jointed and another 203 had been double-jointed in their youth.

Those who were double-jointed, either currently or as children, had much lower odds of OA in the joint at the middle of the finger, the study found. This finger joint is closely associated with grip and pinch strength, which tend to be weaker in people who are double-jointed.

"On the basis of our results, we posit that hypermobility is one factor influencing the pattern of the hand with gripping and pinching, even in participants apparently predisposed to hand OA by virtue of a strong family history of OA," research leader Dr. V.B. Kraus said in a prepared statement.

The findings suggest that being double-jointed could protect long-term finger joint health in people -- such as computer keyboardists and string instrument players -- who routinely perform repetitive movements that stress the finger joints.

More information

The Arthritis Foundation has more about osteoarthritis.

SOURCE: John Wiley & Sons Inc., news release, July 6, 2004
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