The Long-Term Impact of Osteoarthritis Following Knee Surgery in Former College Athletes

in Journal of Sport Rehabilitation
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Context: Individuals who sustain a knee surgery have been shown to have an increased likelihood to develop osteoarthritis (OA). Objective: Identify the consequences of knee surgery in a cohort of former college athletes. Design: Cross-sectional. Setting: Research laboratory. Participants: A group of 100 former Division I college athletes aged 40–65 years (60 males and 40 females) participated in the study. Interventions: All individuals self-reported whether they sustained a knee injury during college requiring surgery and if they have been diagnosed with knee OA by a medical physician post knee injury. Individuals were categorized into 3 groups: no history of knee injury requiring surgery (33 males and 24 females; 54.53 [5.95] y), history of knee surgery in college with no diagnosis of OA later in life (4 males and 6 females; 51.26 [7.29] y), and history of knee surgery in college with physician diagnosed OA later in life (23 males and 10 females; 54.21 [7.64] y). All individuals completed the knee injury and osteoarthritis outcome score (KOOS) and short form-36 version 2. Main Outcome Measures: Scores on the KOOS and short form-36 version 2. Results: A majority (76.7%) of individuals who had a knee surgery in college did develop OA. The largest mean differences were between the healthy knee and surgical knee/OA groups on the KOOS-quality of life scale (mean difference: 49.76; χ2(3) = 44.65; P < .001) and KOOS-sports scale (mean difference: 43.69; χ2(3) = 28.69; P < .001), with the surgical knee/OA group scoring worse. Conclusions: Later in life functional limitations were observed in individuals who sustained a knee injury requiring surgery and developed OA. These findings support increased efforts toward prevention of knee injuries and consideration of the long-term implication when making treatment and return to activity decisions.

Simon and Grooms are with the School of Applied Health Sciences and Wellness, Ohio University, Athens, OH. Docherty is with the School of Public Health, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN.

Simon (simonj1@ohio.edu) is corresponding author.
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