Osteoarthritis Risk Linked to Finger Length Ratio

Published: October 16, 2012

People whose ring finger is longer than their index finger are at higher risk of osteoarthritis, according to a new University of Nottingham study. A study of more than 2,000 people suggests that people whose index finger is shorter than their ring finger are up to twice as likely to suffer from the condition, which is the most common form of arthritis.

Men usually have shorter second than fourth fingers, while in women, these fingers tend to be about equal in length. Shorter index fingers have also been associated with higher prenatal testosterone levels, lower estrogen concentrations, and higher sperm counts. Reduction in this ratio has also been linked to athletic and sexual prowess. In women, it may be associated with an increased risk of PCOS (PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome).

This study's findings suggest that having a relatively long ring finger to index finger ratio raises the risk for developing OA of the knee, independent of other risk factors and particularly among women.

Finger length should be measured from the base of the finger to the finger tip.

Professor Michael Doherty, lead researcher, noted: "The 2D:4D length ratio appears to be a new risk factor for the development of OA (arthritis). Specifically, women with the 'male' pattern of 2D:4D length ratio—that is, ring finger relatively longer than the index finger—are more likely to develop knee OA."


"Index to Ring Finger Length Ratio and the Risk of Osteoarthritis," W. Zhang, J. Robertson, S. Doherty, J.J. Liu, R.A. Maciewicz, K.R. Muir, and M. Doherty, Arthritis & Rheumatism, January 2008; 58:1.

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD

is one of the world's leading integrative medical authorities on fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue. He is the lead author of eight research studies on their effective treatments, and has published numerous health & wellness books, including the bestseller on fibromyalgia From Fatigued to Fantastic! and The Fatigue and Fibromyalgia Solution. His newest book (June 10, 2024) is You Can Heal From Long COVID. Dr. Teitelbaum is one of the most frequently quoted fibromyalgia experts in the world and appears often as a guest on news and talk shows nationwide including Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, Oprah & Friends, CNN, and Fox News Health.

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