Ligamentous laxity in children with achondroplasia: prevalence, joint involvement, and implications for early intervention strategies

Domenico Marco Maurizio Romeo, Virginia Pironi, Chiara Velli, Elisabetta Sforza*, Donato Rigante, Valentina Giorgio, Chiara Leoni, Cristina De Rose, Em Kuczynska, L Limongelli, Roberta Giusy Ruiz, Cristiana Agazzi, Eugenio Maria Mercuri, Giuseppe Zampino, Roberta Onesimo

*Corresponding author

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Achondroplasia (ACH), the most common form of skeletal dysplasia, is characterized by severe disproportionate short stature, rhizomelia, exaggerated lumbar lordosis, brachydactyly, macrocephaly with frontal bossing and midface hypoplasia. Ligamentous laxity has been reported as a striking feature of ACH, but its prevalence and characteristics have not been systematically evaluated yet. There is growing evidence that ligamentous laxity can be associated with chronic musculoskeletal problems and may affect motor development leading to abnormal developmental trajectories. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of ligamentous laxity in children with ACH through standardized tools, the Beighton scale and its modified version for preschool-age children. A total of 33 children (mean age 6.4 ± 3.2 years; age range 1–12.5 years) diagnosed with ACH by the demonstration of a pathogenic variant in the FGFR3 gene and 33 age- and sex-matched healthy controls were included in the study. Both ligamentous laxity assessment and neurological examinations were performed; medical history was also collected from caregivers. Children with ACH showed a 2 times higher risk of ligamentous laxity than the group without skeletal dysplasia (OR = 2.2; 95% CI = 1.0 to 4.7), with 55% of children meeting the diagnostic criteria for hypermo bility. No significant difference in ligamentous laxity was observed between males and females. Joint involvement analysis revealed characteristic patterns, with knee hypermobility observed in 67% of patients, while rare was elbow hypermobility. Longitudinal assessments indicated a decreasing trend in ligamentous laxity scores over time, suggesting a potential decrease in hypermobility issues during adulthood. The findings of this study provide valuable insights into the prevalence and characteristics of ligamentous laxity in ACH. Implementation of standardized ligamentous laxity assessments might guide patients’ follow-up and facilitate early interventions, helping to prevent pain and improve outcomes and quality of life for such patients. Further prospective studies are needed to explore the natural history of ligamentous laxity in ACH and investigate the potential impact of emerging pharmacological treatments upon hypermobility.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Medical Genetics
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Achondroplasia
  • Ligamentous laxity


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