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Risk Factors for Scoliosis
A risk factor is something that increases your likelihood of getting a disease or condition.
It is possible to develop scoliosis with or without the risk factors listed below. However, the more risk factors you have, the greater your likelihood of developing scoliosis. If you have a number of risk factors, ask your doctor what you can do to reduce your risk.
A number of medical conditions predispose children to scoliosis, including:
- Turner syndrome
- Muscular dystrophy
- Cerebral palsy
- Marfan syndrome
- Friedreichs ataxia
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Osteogenesis imperfecta
- Spina bifida
The adolescent form of scoliosis is by far the most common form. This form begins in children over the age of 10, and usually progresses until growth stops in adolescence.
Mild curves affect boys and girls equally, but girls are 10 times more likely to have curves that progress enough to require treatment.
You are more likely to have scoliosis if other members of your family do. However, while you cannot predict how severe your scoliosis will be based on the severity of scoliosis in other family members, some evidence suggests that genetic testing might be useful in predicting the future severity of scoliosis.
Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated June 8, 2015. Accessed December 23, 2015.
Idiopathic scoliosis in children and adolescents. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons Ortho Info website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00353. Updated March 2015. Accessed December 21, 2013.
Ogilvie JW. Update on prognostic genetic testing in adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS). J Pediatr Orthop. 2011 ;31(1 Suppl):S46-S48.
Questions and answers about scoliosis in children and adolescents. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Scoliosis/default.asp. Updated July 2013. Accessed December 23, 2015.
What is scoliosis? Fast Facts: An Easy-to-Read Series of Publications for the Public. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Scoliosis/scoliosis%5Fff.asp. Updated November 2014. Accessed December 23, 2015.
- Reviewer: Michael Woods, MD
- Review Date: 12/2015
- Update Date: 12/20/2014