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The Beighton Score has been used for many years as an indicator of joint hypermobility syndrome. Now, it is used more as a clinical tool to perform a quick assessment for generalized hypermobility; however, there are two key points to remember according to Hypermobility Syndromes Association’s website:

“i. A high Beighton score by itself does not mean that an individual has a hypermobility syndrome. Other symptoms and signs also need to be present.

ii. A low score should be considered with caution when assessing someone for widespread pain as hypermobility can be present at some sites that are not counted in the Beighton score. For example, this can be at the jaw joint (the ‘TMJ’), neck (cervical spine), shoulders, mid (thoracic) spine, hips, ankles, and feet.”

How the Beighton Score is calculated:

– One point if while standing forward bending you can place palms on the ground with legs straight

– One point for each elbow that bends backwards

– One point for each knee that bends backwards

– One point for each thumb that touches the forearm when bent backwards

A score of 5 or higher out of 9, is considered to be a good indication of hypermobility syndrome or Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome Hypermobility type. However, as stated above, the Beighton Score is just a resource for quick assessment of joint hypermobility and is not the sole criteria for a proper diagnosis, nor does it rule it out either.

Additionally, the Hypermobility Syndromes Association’s (HMSA) website states that you can also answer the “hypermobility questionnaire.” The Hypermobility questionnaire is below, per HMSA website:

“An answer of ‘Yes’ to 2 or more of the questions gives a very high prediction of the presence of hypermobility. Again, like the Beighton score, this does not mean that the person has a Hypermobility Syndrome.

– Can you now (or could you ever) place your hands flat on the floor without bending your knees?

– Can you now (or could you ever) bend your thumb to touch your forearm?

– As a child did you amuse your friends by bending your body into strange shapes OR could you do the splits?

– As a child or teenager did your shoulder or kneecap dislocate on more than one occasion?

– Do you consider yourself double-jointed?”

If you scored higher on the Beighton Score or you can answer yes to most of the questions on the questionnaire, and you are interested in seeking medical care for a proper diagnosis, you can go here to read more or contact feel free to contact me with any questions about diagnosis. Usually, people seek a geneticist or call the genetics clinic of a larger institution for proper diagnosis.

Most times, geneticists first will use the Beighton Score as an initial assessment for joint hypermobility, but will also utilize The Brighton Criteria to include other minor and major diagnostic criteria for proper diagnosis.  The Brighton Criteria is especially useful for individuals who score lower on the Beighton Score but have visible signs and symptoms characteristic of Ehlers-Danlos or other connective tissue disorders.  See Brighton Criteria links below to read more.

To read more about hypermobility due to Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes, click on the “What is EDS?” link or the “How is EDS Diagnosed?” link.

Additional resources:

– The Brighton Criteria for Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome

– Hypermobility Syndromes Association page on The Brighton Criteria for JHS

– EDNF’s page on Assessing Joint Hypermobility

– EDNF’s page on the 1997 EDS Nosology

– EDS UK’s page on the Beighton Score

– EDS UK’s page on the Brighton Criteria

– The Beighton Score: A valid measure of joint hypermobility in children

– Ehlers-Danlos National Foundation

Ehlers-Danlos Support UK

Hypermobility Syndrome Association

– EDS UK’s page on genetic testing

– EDS Information, resources and news for patients (updated frequently)

Originally posted on Moving Naturally with Hypermobility’s website.  To view the original post, go here.  Moving Naturally with Hypermobility (MNWH) is a website for Physical therapy and exercise resources for people with hypermobility syndromes, including Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, as a way to manage chronic pain and improve overall health and well-being.  Specifically, MNWH focuses on education seminars for both patients and healthcare providers and is a collaboration between EDS Patient Solutions and two DPTs in the Washington, DC area.

To read through the presentations from the 1st Moving Naturally with Hypermobility seminar, go to www.movingnaturallywithhypermobility.com