Date of Award


Document Type

Scholarly Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

First Advisor

Susan H. N. Jeno


Joint Instability -- complications; Joint Instability -- epidemiology; Occupational Therapists; Physical Therapists; hypermobility; injury; prevalence; occurrence; recurrence; physical therapy; occupational therapy


Background: A prior research study showed that the prevalence of hypermobility was higher among Physical and Occupational Therapy students as compared to the general population. The literature shows that certain injury rates are higher among those who are hypermobile. This has led to the question of whether or not hypermobility is directly related to injury and recurrence of injury.

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to assess Physical Therapy (PT) and Occupational Therapy (OT) students for hypermobility as well as survey previous injury history. This study analyzed the prevalence of hypermobility with types of injuries in order to determine if a relationship exists.

Methods: Eighty-six subjects (24 male, 62 female) were assessed for hypermobility using the nine point Beighton Scale of Hypermobility. A score of four or higher out of nine indicated the presence of joint hypermobility. Participants filled out a survey regarding current activity level, previous and current athletic participation, injury history regarding type and mechanism of injury.

Results: The prevalence of hypermobility among PT and OT students was found to be 39.5%, a rate five times greater than the general population. Reported injuries were grouped into the following classifications prior to statistical analysis: sprains, ligament rupture, strain/contusion, fracture, and dislocation. Non-hypermobile participants were more likely to have experienced a strain type injury (l(1, N=86) =5.059, p=0.024). No other statistically significant results were found, although fracture rates showed a trend of occurring more frequently in non-hypermobile participants (p=O.167).

Conclusion: The prevalence of joint hypermobility is higher among Physical and Occupational Therapy students than the general population. Injury rates are high among both PT and OT populations, with strains occurring more frequently in non-hypermobile subjects. In the future, increased sample size, as well as inclusion of the general student population may lead to a greater significance in research results. Further research is needed to determine the extent of such correlation.