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Joint laxity and arm pain in a large clinical sample of musicians

Alice G. Brandfonbrener
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 17 Number 3: Page 113 (September 2002)

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Abstract: Joint laxity has long been reputed to be a risk factor for injury among instrumental musicians. The author reviewed the records of 2,387 instrumentalists seen at the Medical Program for Performing Artists from 1985 to March 2002. Of the 1,300 patients with lower-arm, wrist, and hand pain, 57% were females and 43% were males. For the purpose of analyzing these musicians' injuries, the author defines joint laxity as being more than 10 degrees hyperextensibility of the metacarpophalangeal and/or proximal interphalangeal finger joints. Using this definition, an average of 35% of the female musicians had significant laxity associated with lower-arm pain, while such laxity was evident in an average of 17% of the males. Analyzing the data with respect to individual instrument class, significant laxity associated with hand pain ranged from a high of 82% to a low of 10% among the female musicians, and ranged between only 19% and 13% among the male musicians.

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