Date of Award
Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)
prevalence; hypermobility, occurrence; recurrence; physical therapy; occupational therapy; students; injury
Background: Prior research has shown that physical and occupational therapy students have a higher prevalence of hypermobility than that which is seen within the general population. Throughout the literature, the rates of injury are greater in those with hypermobile joints. It has also been found that females have higher rates of hypermobility than males. Given this information, a secondary question arose regarding whether or not hypermobility and injury (initial or recurrence) are directly related to one another.
Purpose: The intent of conducting this study was to evaluate physical therapy and occupational therapy students for hypermobility while concurrently assessing for their previous injury history. The prevalence of both hypermobility and injury types were analyzed with the purpose of delineating a possible relationship.
Methods: A total of 35 subjects (13 male and 22 female) subjects volunteered and 34 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 generalized joint hypermobility. Participants filled out a survey regarding current activity level, previous and current athletic participation, injury regarding type and mechanism of injury.
Results: It was found that 18% (6/34) were of the subjects were systematically hypermobile according to the Beighton Scale of Hypermobility. Of these, there were five females that were hypermobile (83%) and one male who was hypermobile (17%). Each participant reported sustained injuries in the following categories: sprains, strains/contusions, ligament rupture, fracture, and dislocation. Non-hypermobile persons were more likely to have had sprains and dislocations. Participants with generalized joint hypermobility reported more strains/contusions and fractures. The most commonly hypermobile areas were found to be the elbows and thumbs.
Conclusion: From the results of this study, it can be concluded that there is a difference in the prevalence of hypermobility between PT students in relation to the general public. PT students were found to have a rate of hypermobility of 18% in comparison to the 4-13% that the general public has. Injury rates were high among the sample used, with the most injuries coming from the ankles, fingers, and knees. The type of injury that was most prevalent was sprains. It can also be concluded that females are found to be more hypermobile than males. In future studies, it is recommended that a larger sample size is utilized in addition to physical therapy students, occupational therapy students, and the general public to allow for greater data analysis.
Erdmann, Allie and Klein, Amber, "Association of Generalized Joint Hypermobility and Occurrence of Musculoskeletal Injury in Physical Therapy and Occupational Therapy Students" (2020). Physical Therapy Scholarly Projects. 698.