-- Robert Preidt
FRIDAY, March 7, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- The closer in length
your ring and index fingers are, the greater your risk of
developing severe knee osteoarthritis that requires total knee
replacement, a new study claims.
Researchers examined the hands of more than 14,500 middle-aged
and older people in Australia, and followed them for an average of
more than 10 years. During that time, 580 people had total knee
replacements and about 500 had total hip replacements.
Having ring and index fingers that were closer in length was
associated with a higher risk of requiring total knee replacement
due to osteoarthritis, according to the study, which was published
online March 4 in the journal
Rheumatology. The association was stronger with fingers on
the right hand.
Osteoarthritis, which is related to normal wear and tear of
joints, is the most common type of arthritis.
The study did not find any evidence of a link between the
lengths of ring and index fingers and the risk of total hip
Previous studies have suggested that there may be an association
between the ratio of ring and index fingers and athletic ability,
study author Dr. Yuanyuan Wang, of the School of Public Health and
Preventive Medicine at Monash University, in Melbourne, Australia,
said in a journal news release.
The researchers couldn't fully explain the new findings. It
might be that participants with lower index- to ring-finger ratios
performed higher-intensity physical activity, thus putting their
knees at more risk. It also might be that knee arthritis is more
vulnerable after injury than hip arthritis, Wang said.
The findings, however, "may also reflect hormonal influences on
the growth of bone, cartilage and soft tissue, which warrants
further investigation," he added.
The study only found an association between finger length and
the risk of needing total knee replacement. It did not show
The U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and
Skin Diseases has more about
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