Lower index to ring finger ration associated with higher risk of osteoarthritis in knee

March 4, 2014, Oxford University Press

A new study published online today in the journal Rheumatology has found that the lower the ratio between a person's index finger (2D) and their ring finger (4D), the higher their risk of developing severe osteoarthritis in their knees, requiring a total knee replacement.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a major public health problem linked with significant disability in knees and hips. Hormonal factors are thought to play a role, which is thought to account for the well documented difference in prevalence of OA between men and women. Anthropological studies have suggested that there are consistent sex differences in the ratio of the lengths of the index and ring fingers (expressed as 2D:4D), with men showing a lower average 2D:4D than women. The aim of this new study was to determine whether 2D:4D was associated with the risk of severe knee or hip OA requiring in a large cohort study.

Dr Yuanyuan Wang and colleagues assessed the hands of 14,511 middle-aged and older participants in the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study from hand photocopies and noted the 2D:4D. The incidence of total and total between 2001 and 2011 was determined by linking the cohort records to the Australian Orthopaedic Association National Joint Replacement Registry.

Over an average 10.5 year follow up, 580 participants had total knee replacements and 499 had total hip replacements for OA. Lower 2D:4D was associated with a higher incidence of total knee replacement, while there was no significant evidence of a link between 2D:4D and total hip replacement. This was the case when the ratio was examined on either the right or left hand, or the average, although the risk was stronger with the right hand.

There were 830 participants whose fingers had features that might have affected the validity of the measurements, and so they were excluded in the additional sensitivity analysis. Among the remaining 13,681 participants, there were 524 and 454 total hip replacements. Again, a lower 2D:4D was associated with a higher incidence of total knee replacement. There was again no significant evidence of a link between 2D:4D and total hip replacement.

Dr Wang says, "Although there is some evidence from previous studies that sporting ability and achievement in sports and athletics are negatively related to 2D:4D, this might not reflect levels of regular physical activity in the general population. In our study, the measure of physical activity did not directly assess sporting activity, nor did the measure report past physical activity that may also be important in this regard."

"Although our study's results may in part be explained by joint injuries associated with high-level in those with a lower 2D:4D and the greater susceptibility of knee OA in response to injury than hip OA, they may also reflect hormonal influences on the growth of bone, cartilage, and soft tissue, which warrants further investigation."

Explore further: Complications challenge rheumatoid arthritis patients after joint replacement surgery

More information: 'Association between index to ring finger length ratio and risk of severe knee and hip osteoarthritis requiring total joint replacement' by S. Monira Hussain, Yuanyuan Wang, David Muller, Anita Wluka, Graham Giles, John Manning, Stephen Graves, and Flavia Cicuttuni, Rheumatology, DOI: 10.1093/rheumatology/keu021

Related Stories

Complications challenge rheumatoid arthritis patients after joint replacement surgery

November 28, 2012
In the first systemic review of evidence assessing complications following total joint arthroplasty, patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) were found to have an increased risk for hip dislocation after hip replacement surgery ...

Coexisting pain tied to worse knee replacement outcomes

October 26, 2013
(HealthDay)‚ÄĒMusculoskeletal pain in the low back, hips, and the nonoperatively treated knee before total knee replacement is associated with poorer physical function at six months after surgery, according to a study published ...

Male smokers less likely to need joint replacement surgery of hip or knee

July 8, 2011
Surprising results from a new study revealed that men who smoke had less risk of undergoing total joint replacement surgery than those who never smoked. Researchers also reported that men who were overweight, or who engaged ...

Not all patients benefit equally from hip or knee replacement, study finds

April 4, 2013
Only half of people with arthritis who had a hip or knee replacement reported a significant improvement in pain and mobility after surgery, according to a new study led by Women's College Hospital and the Institute for Clinical ...

Recommended for you

Osteoarthritis could be treated as two diseases, scientists reveal

January 10, 2018
Scientists at The University of Manchester have discovered that most people with osteoarthritis can be subdivided into two distinct disease groups, with implications for diagnosis and drug development.

US arthritis prevalence is much higher than current estimates

November 27, 2017
New research indicates that the prevalence of arthritis in the United States has been substantially underestimated, especially among adults

Maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels may help to prevent rheumatoid arthritis

November 20, 2017
Maintaining sufficient vitamin D levels may help to prevent the onset of inflammatory diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, research led by the University of Birmingham has discovered.

Old World monkeys could be key to a new, powerful rheumatoid arthritis therapy

November 16, 2017
In the quest for a new and more effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, researchers from the Keck School of Medicine of USC looked to a primate that mostly roams the land in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. It was ...

Study lists foods for fighting rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and progression

November 8, 2017
A list of food items with proven beneficial effects on the progression and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis is provided in a new study published today in Frontiers in Nutrition. The authors suggest incorporating these foods ...

Prototype equipment can detect rheumatoid arthritis

September 28, 2017
According to a first clinical study published in the scientific journal Photoacoustics, the University of Twente and various European partners have designed a device that shows the difference between healthy fingers and arthritic ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.