Background In Japan, which is always the top-ranked life expectancy in the world, the healthcare issues for elderly people transitions from internal; cancer, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease to motor system and function referred as “Locomotive syndrome”. It seems few reports about effects of sport habit in younger age on the locomotors and ability of the elderly. We have carried out medical checkup for the former Japanese Olympian at 1964 every four years since 1970.
Objective The aim of this study is clarify characteristics about current locomotive conditions and functions of former elite athletes who had undoubtedly sport habit retrospectively.
Methods We performed medical checkup for 119 (90 male and 29 female; mean age is 72.1 years old (M:72.6, F:70.4) former elite athletes who had participated Olympic Games in 1964 (Tokyo). And analyzed current sport habit, degree of osteoarthritis on knee and lumbar spine (L5/S1) by Kellgren-Laurence classification (K-L score), with or without symptom, bone mineral density (BMD) and T-score by DEXA.
Results Currently, in total 68.1% (M:70.0%, F:62.1%) of former elite athletes had carry on some sports activity over 1–2 times per week. The mean K-L score of lumbar spine and knee was 2.2 (M:2.1 F: 2.4), 1.6 (M:1.4, F:2.2), respectively. The rate of symptom existence about lumbar spine and knee was 31.9% (M:37.9%, F:30%), 42.9% (M:34.4%, F:69.0%), respectively. The whole body BMD and T-score was 1.18 103.6% (M:1.22 106.6%, F:1.04 94.4%).
Conclusions Former elite athletes maintain sports activity even though over aged 70. Although they have mild degenerative changes on their locomotive organs, there are few complaints except female knee joint. In addition, they kept high BMD and T-score. The sport habit during younger age may bring good effect for elderly locomotors.
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