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BASEM 2006 Annual Conference

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001 OSTEOARTHRITIS OF THE HIP AND KNEE IN ENGLISH PROFESSIONAL FOOTBALLERS: IS THERE A PROBLEM AND DOES IT MATTER?

A. Coy, T. Jenkinson.Royal National Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases, Bath BA1 1RL, UK

Aim: Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disorder in the developed world and is associated with pain and disability. Throughout the literature, there is increasing evidence suggesting a positive relationship between sport and the subsequent development of OA. This systematic review aims to examine the available evidence and use it to develop a study protocol to quantify the prevalence of OA within a population of retired English professional footballers.

Methods: The PubMed, SPORTSDiscus and EMBASE databases were searched for all clinical articles relating to OA and sporting activities. Using well-defined inclusion and exclusion criteria, 14 articles were included for review—1 systematic review, 5 case-control studies, 4 retrospective cohort studies, 3 cross-sectional studies and 1 retrospective questionnaire study.

Results: All, except one study included, showed a positive association between sport and the development of OA in the lower limb joints. When specifically considering football, this association was particularly evident. The prevalence of OA ranged from 5.6% (including both elite and non-elite players) up to 52.7%. The former value increased to 14% when considering elite players alone. The corresponding control values were 2.5% and 33.3% respectively.

Conclusion: The reviewed literature suggests that long-term, high-level participation in sport is associated with a high risk of developing OA of the hips and knees in both men and women, even if the joints remain free from significant injury. This relationship is particularly evident for male professional footballers, although this has not been reliably measured within our retired English players. Quantitative research is therefore needed in this field of sports medicine, aiming to confirm that, for English professional footballers, OA of the hip and knee presents a considerable problem, and given the prospect of pain and disability in future years, it …

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