Young athletes with previous knee injury had higher risk of OA

Young athletes who previously sustained an intra-articular knee injury had a higher risk of structural changes associated with future osteoarthritis, according to results presented at the Osteoarthritis Research Society International World Congress.

by Casey Tingle, Healio May 2, 2017

“Young adults around the age of 22 [years] who sustained an intra-articular knee injury when they were about 16 [years of age] playing sport appeared to be at a higher risk of structural changes associated with future osteoarthritis,” Jackie L. Whittaker, PhD, said in her presentation.

Whittaker and colleagues from the Faculty of Rehabilitation Medicine, Glen Sather Sports Medicine Clinic, and Dept. of Radiology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at University of Alberta in Edmonton and the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre, Faculty of Kinesiology and The Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, Faculty of Medicine at University of Calgary, compared 100 patients who had an intra-articular knee injury while participating in sports with 100 control patients matched for age, sex and sport. Primary outcome measure was a structural outcome of MRI-defined osteoarthritis (OA), while secondary outcomes included KOOS measures, weekly physical activity and normalized knee extensor isometric torque, according to Whittaker.

Results showed patients who had a previous injury had a 25% higher prevalence of MRI-defined OA 3 years to 10 years after injury. Whittaker noted patients who had a torn ACL or injured meniscus appeared to have the highest risk of structural changes. She said patients who had a previous injury scored lower on the KOOS score, with the most significant differences in the symptom subscale and the knee-related quality of life.

“Although we did not see a difference between the two groups with respect to the total metabolic equivalence of physical activity across the week, we did see that those with a previous injury had lower aerobic fitness, estimated with a 20-meter shuttle run,” Whittaker said.

She added patients with previous injury were two-times more likely to be in the lowest quartile for physical activity. Results showed weaker knee extensors and weaker knee flexors among patients who had a previous injury.

“Previously injured participants had a higher BMI, a higher fat mass index and they had higher abdominal fat,” Whittaker said. “When we dichotomized what we saw was those with a previous injury were about 2.5-times more likely to be overweight or obese by BMI; 4.4-times more likely to be in the upper quartile for fat mass index; and almost six-times more likely to be in the upper quartile for abdominal fat.”

Source Healio

The consequences of a youth sport related knee injury: evidence of early post-traumatic osteoarthritis and other negative health outcomes 3–10 years post-injury, JL Whittaker, C Toomey, A Nettel-Aguirre, JL Jaremko, CA Emery. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage. Volume 25, S50 – S51. DOI: 10.1016/j.joca.2017.02.094. Paper #65. Presented at Osteoarthritis Research Society International World Congress; April 27-30, 2017; Las Vegas NV

Outcomes associated with early post-traumatic osteoarthritis and other negative health consequences 3-10 years following knee joint injury in youth sport, Whittaker JL, Woodhouse LJ, Nettel-Aguirre A, Emery CA. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Jul;23(7):1122-9. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2015.02.021. Epub 2015 Feb 26.

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