Flexibility in Older Women Lowers Arthritis Risk
A study conducted at St. Thomas' Hospitalin London, England, suggests that olderwomen who are "double-jointed" (havesuper-flexible joints) are less likely to havearthritic knees than other women. Although itwas not clear whether the women were bornwith their extra flexibility, or if it came from alifetime of exercise and stretching, the findingssuggest that retaining flexibility in lateryears can ward off arthritis.
People who have hypermobile joints havean expanded range of motion. The loosenessof the structures surrounding the jointsallows them to have more motion. In somecases, hypermobility is a sign of inheritedconnective tissue or bone disease, andsome previous studies had suggested that itmight actually increase the risk ofosteoarthritis (OA).
The study involved 716 women aged 53to 72 years old, 79 of whom had somedegree of joint hypermobility. The investigatorsfound that bone mineral density (BMD)was 3% higher in the hips of the hypermobilegroup than in the other women. No differencewas noted in spine (BMD) between the2 groups, however. The researchers alsolooked at OA in the hands, knees, spine, andhips. A reduced risk of OA was found in onlythe knees of the hypermobile group.