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Beighton Score Calculator

Created by Aleksandra Zając, MD
Reviewed by Anna Szczepanek, PhD and Adena Benn
Based on research by
Beighton P, Horan F Orthopaedic aspects of the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome; The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. British volume; Aug 1969See 2 more sources
Simpson MR Benign joint hypermobility syndrome: evaluation, diagnosis, and management; The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association; Sep 2006Smits-Engelsman B, Klerks M, Kirby A Beighton score: a valid measure for generalized hypermobility in children; The Journal of Pediatrics; Jan 2011
Last updated: Feb 28, 2024


If you have ever wondered 'how do I test for hypermobility?', this Beighton score calculator is the perfect one for you. The Beighton test is used to assess joint laxity and contains only five moves (including the double-jointed elbow test). Read on to find out how you perform the Beighton test, what can be the causes of hypermobility, and - if the Brighton scale is the same and why not?

We try our best to make our Omni Calculators as precise and reliable as possible. However, this tool can never replace a professional doctor's assessment.

What is the Beighton scale?

The Beighton scale, sometimes erroneously written as Brighton scale (Brighton scale is a different thing), is a simple screening technique to assess if the patient has hypermobility. Hypermobility, also called 'double-jointedness' or 'floppy joints', is a state when joints can stretch beyond those of most other people. The joints are very flexible, which usually causes pain, and as a result, causes people to see a doctor.

What is the Beighton test?

The Beighton test is a simple screening technique used by physicians and other health professionals. Calculating the Beighton score can suggest if a patient has signs of hypermobility.

The Beighton test consists of 5 movements. Four are passive moves (meaning the health professional is performing the movement), and one is done actively (a patient performs the action). Those four passive moves are assessed bilaterally (left and right sides separately).

Beighton score test scheme

See the table for all the moves and points assigned.

Movement

Points

Left

Right

Putting your hands on the floor with the knees straight (active)

1

Bending the knee backward more than 10 degrees

1

1

Bending the elbow backward more than 10 degrees

1

1

Bending the thumb so that it touches the forearm

1

1

Bending the little finger backward past 90 degrees

1

1

How to use the Beighton score calculator?

To use our Beighton score calculator:

  1. See the calculator panel on the left side of the screen.
  2. Ask the patient to place their hands flat on the floor with their legs straight. Mark 'Yes' if the patient reaches the floor with no problem.
  3. Try to bend the patient's knees backward past 10 degrees.
  4. Time for the elbow bending test, or double-jointed elbow test. Bend the elbows delicately backward and score a point if they bend more than 10 degrees.
  5. Check if the patient's thumbs can touch the forearm.
  6. For the final Beighton test movement, see if the little fingers can bend past 90 degrees.
  7. Your result is ready at the bottom of the calculator.

How to interpret the Beighton score calculator results (am I hypermobile?)

The Beighton score doesn't have a sharp cut-off. Generally, getting four points or more suggests joint laxity. However, it has to be precisely correlated with other clinical signs, symptoms, and objective test results (laboratory tests or diagnostic imaging) to identify a possible underlying condition. You cannot state a diagnosis on the double-jointed elbow test only.

The Beighton test limitations

The Beighton scale considers only a few joints in your body and is relatively simple, so it has its limitations. Even if you get a 'negative result', you can still experience symptoms of joint laxity. The Beighton test results should be a part of the diagnostic process, not the only tool. If any health condition bothers you, especially if you have symptoms, you should consult a doctor.

Where does hypermobility come from?

Hypermobility can be an individual feature, but it can also be a manifestation of an underlying medical condition. The most common diseases that come with joint laxity are:

  • Marfan syndrome (usually associated with being more than average in height);
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (this is what the Brighton scale, or rather the Brighton criteria, is used for);
  • Down syndrome;
  • Loyes-Dietz syndrome;
  • Osteogenesis imperfecta.

Those conditions are genetic and sometimes require special medical care - like cardiology care. So if you suspect you or your close one might be affected, it's always better to stay on the safe side and visit a physician.

The 'double-jointedness' comes most often from the defect of the connective tissue. Connective tissue is a type of tissue that appears almost everywhere in the body. In joints, it is responsible for the strong ligaments that keep parts of the joint in their place. Joint laxity can also be a result of injury.

💡 If you want to know more about hereditary conditions, check our allele frequency calculator for basic genetic knowledge or nuchal translucency calculator for the details of Down's syndrome diagnostics.

FAQ

How do I know if I'm hypermobile?

If you suspect you're hypermobile, schedule a physician's appointment so they can run a Beighton test. A doctor will take your medical history and perform a general medical examination. Don't neglect that, as joint laxity can be a symptom of an underlying disease.

How many points in the Beighton scale do I get for bending my elbow backward?

You can get one point for each elbow bending backward more than 10 degrees. It should be a passive move, so you'll need assistance.

How do I test for hypermobility?

To test for hypermobility, you'll need a physician's assistance then you perform the Beighton test. Check if:

  1. You can place your hands flat on the floor with the knees straight.
  2. Your knees bend backward past 10 degrees.
  3. Your elbows bend backward more than 10 degrees.
  4. You can touch the forearm with the thumb (both sides).
  5. The little fingers bend past 90 degrees.

You get one point for each move. A result of 4 or more points indicates you might be hypermobile.

Why does my thumb bend backward?

If your thumb bends backward (or: if you have a hitchhiker's thumb), it can be a result of a connective tissue defect or a complication after injury. It shows that your thumb joint is hypermobile. This joint laxity might be a feature itself or a sign of an underlying genetic condition.

Aleksandra Zając, MD
Other
Placing flat hands on the floor with straight legs
No
Joints bending backward more than 10 degrees
Left knee
No
Right knee
No
Left elbow
No
Right elbow
No
Thumbs touching the forearm
Left thumb
No
Right thumb
No
Little fingers bending backward past 90 degrees
Left little finger
No
Right little finger
No
Result
Score
0
The Beighton score is 0 points. It doesn't suggest joint hypermobility.
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