Osteoarthritis is the most common form of joint disease, and
numerous factors can contribute to its development, including
“wear and tear” and family history of the condition. Osteoarthritis
is fairly common in the elderly population, although it can
also strike younger people. Evidence now suggests that joint
trauma in childhood or young adulthood may contribute to osteoarthritis
in later life.
A recent study in the Annals of Internal Medicine
recorded prior and current injury status in 1,321 young medical
students (average age: 22 years). Injury was defined as trauma
to the knee or hip joint. Subsequent trauma and specific sites
of arthritis were reported during a 36-year follow-up period.
Nearly 14% of participants who reported a knee injury in
youth or young adulthood developed osteoarthritis of the knee
by age 65, compared with only six percent of those without
any such prior injury. Overall, prior joint injury significantly
correlated with risk for later-life osteoarthritis at the
specific injury site. The authors urge the use of proper sports
equipment under safe conditions to help prevent joint injuries
For more information on ways to keep your children as healthy
and pain-free as possible, contact your doctor. You can also
find additional exercise and fitness information on line at
Gelber AC, Hochberg MC, Mead LA, et al. Joint injury in young
adults and risk for subsequent knee and hip osteoarthritis.
Annals of Internal Medicine 2000: Vol. 133, pp321-28.