Injury May Increase Risk of Osteoarthritis
Are you really more prone to arthritis if you've been injured?
Several studies have suggested yes, you are, but these studies relied on subjects' memories, which may be unreliable. Now a new, more reliable study confirms their conclusions.
This long-term study, conducted by the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, in Baltimore, Md., noted injuries close to when they occurred by following 1,321 medical school graduates, mostly young white men, from 1948 until 1995, when most had reached their early 60s.
Those who injured a knee in adolescence or young adulthood had a three times greater risk of later developing osteoarthritis in that knee than other subjects did. Those who suffered a knee injury as an adult were five times more likely to subsequently develop knee osteoarthritis than those who were never injured.
''This suggests that we should probably intervene before people develop arthritis,'' says lead author Dr. Allan C. Gelber. ''Because many of the injuries were sports-related, perhaps we could make sports safer, with safer equipment or on safer surfaces.''
He also suggests that minimizing further damage to injured joints - for example, with joint-stabilizing braces or by modifying high-impact movements - may reduce the risk of developing osteoarthritis later in life.
Source: Annals of Internal Medicine, September 5, 2000; 133, 5, 321-328
This appeared in ACE FitnessMatters, ACE's official magazine.
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