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Hypermobility and sports injury
  1. Joseph Alexander Nathan1,
  2. Kevin Davies1,
  3. Ian Swaine2
  1. 1 Brighton and Sussex Medical School, Rheumatology, BSMS Teaching Building, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK
  2. 2 Faculty of Engineering and Science, Life and Sports Sciences, University of Greenwich, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Joseph Alexander Nathan; josephnathan{at}doctors.org.uk

Abstract

Objective To determine whether there is an association between hypermobility and sports injury.

Methods A quantitative observational approach using a cross-sectional survey was adopted. Individuals were identified as hypermobile or not. All participants were asked to complete two questionnaires: one asking demographic information and the other injury-specific. Fisher’s exact test was used for statistical analysis.

Results 114 individuals participated in the study, 62 women and 52 men. 26% of the participants were hypermobile. There was no significant association between hypermobility and sports injury (p=0.66). There was a significant increase in joint and ligament sprain among the non-hypermobile (NH) group covering all sports (p=0.03). Joint dislocation was found exclusively among hypermobile individuals. The duration of injury in hypermobile individuals was higher than NH. The use of oral painkillers or anti-inflammatories in the semiprofessional group was greater than the general population.

Conclusion Hypermobility is relatively common among individuals, and there is a lot of anecdotal evidence associating it with increased rates of injuries. This project finds that NH individuals are more likely to sustain a ligament or joint sprain in sports. This is due to increased joint laxity and flexibility preventing injury. There were important limitations to this study which will be addressed in further work. These include assessing for pauciarticular hypermobility and focusing on one sport to investigate its association with sports injury in those who are hypermobile or not. It would also be important to focus on one specific joint, assessing its flexibility and association with injury.

  • hypermobility
  • sports injury

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Footnotes

  • Contributors Contributorship was solely by the authors mentioned. The authors were responsible for substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, or the acquisition, analysis or interpretation of data. In addition, the main author drafted the work and with the help of the coauthors revised it critically for important intellectual content. All authors have approved the final version and are in agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Ethics approval Ethical approval was sought from the Brighton and Sussex Medical School (R&D reference 16/008/DAV). Participants in this study gave informed consent before their involvement.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Data sharing statement Additional data collected in this study are available and can be obtained by emailing the main author at josephnathan@doctors.org.uk.

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