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Arthritis Rheum. 2011 Aug;63(8):2284-8. doi: 10.1002/art.30408.

The associations between finger length pattern, osteoarthritis, and knee injury: data from the Framingham community cohort.

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  • 1Department of Rheumatology, Diakonhjemmet Hospital, Oslo, Norway.



To investigate the associations of index finger-to-ring finger (2D:4D) length ratio with radiographic knee and hand osteoarthritis (OA), previous knee injury, and meniscal lesions in the general population.


We measured the length of the right second and fourth phalangeal and metacarpal bones on hand radiographs from 1,020 randomly recruited subjects (ages 51-92 years). Knee radiography and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were performed on subjects. Women and men were divided into tertiles according to their 2D:4D phalangeal and metacarpal ratios. We assessed the odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs) for radiographic knee OA, severe symptomatic knee OA, radiographic hand OA, previous knee injury, and MRI-defined meniscal lesion, using logistic regression with adjustment for age and body mass index. Because hand OA may affect the 2D:4D phalangeal ratio, we performed sensitivity analyses in subjects without joint space narrowing in the second and fourth interphalangeal joints.


We found no significant associations between 2D:4D length ratio and radiographic knee OA, severe symptomatic knee OA, or meniscal lesions. Low 2D:4D phalangeal ratio was associated with hand OA in women (OR 1.80, 95% CI 1.11-2.93), but in the sensitivity analysis, the association was attenuated (OR 1.35, 95% CI 0.79-2.32). Low 2D:4D phalangeal ratios were associated with knee injury in men (OR 1.78, 95% CI 1.02-3.10). We found no significant associations for 2D:4D metacarpal ratios.


Low 2D:4D phalangeal ratios in men are associated with knee injury, but we did not find any significant association with knee OA. Low 2D:4D length ratio may be a consequence, rather than a cause, of hand OA in women.

Copyright © 2011 by the American College of Rheumatology.

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