Elite Sport Linked to Osteoarthritis  

osteoarthritis and sport

According to new research, being a top-level athlete can increase the chances of getting osteoarthritis, a common type of arthritis that affects your joints, later in life. In fact, the study found that one in four retired Olympic athletes have been diagnosed with the condition.

Here, we look at what the latest research revealed, and why MBST can be an effective treatment option for those suffering with Osteoarthritis.

Largest study of its kind reveals risks of high-performance sports

The latest research is the biggest global survey to study osteoarthritis in retired athletes from various Olympic sports. The team of researchers interviewed 3,357 retired Olympians, who were on average 45 years old. They asked about past injuries and their bone, joint, muscle, and spine health. They also asked if they were currently experiencing joint pain or had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis.

To draw meaningful comparisons, the same survey was also conducted with 1,735 participants, averaging 41 years of age, from the general population. Statistical models were used to determine the occurrence of osteoarthritis and related pain in the spine, upper limb, and lower limb between retired Olympians and the general population.

Various influencing factors such as recurrent injuries, age, gender, and obesity were considered. The research showed that the knees, lumbar spine, and shoulders were the most common injury sites among Olympians, which also turned out to be the primary areas for osteoarthritis and pain.

Upon sustaining a joint injury, Olympians were found to be more susceptible to developing osteoarthritis compared to their counterparts in the general population with similar injuries.

Despite the heightened risk of pain following an injury, this was on par with what the general population experienced. The Olympians, who represented a diverse range of 57 sports, also showed an increased risk of lower back pain in general, and shoulder osteoarthritis following a shoulder injury.

Findings could lead to new injury prevention approach

Researchers are optimistic that these findings will aid in the development of innovative strategies for injury prevention. This would contribute to the well-being of athletes, both during their careers, and into retirement.

There’s a clear link between high-performance sports and an increased risk of sports-related injuries. There is also growing evidence indicating that retired elite athletes are prone to post-traumatic osteoarthritis at higher rates. This research sheds new light on the specific factors contributing to pain and osteoarthritis in retired elite athletes. It also pinpoints unique differences in these factors that are particularly relevant to Olympians.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative joint disorder, characterised by the gradual breakdown and eventual loss of the protective cartilage lining the ends of bones in a joint. It is associated with a spectrum of symptoms, including persistent joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, which can lead to reduced mobility and function over time.

Despite mostly impacting the knees, hips, lower back, and neck, osteoarthritis can affect any joint in the body. The condition often develops slowly and worsens over time. While it cannot be reversed, treatments are available to manage symptoms and improve quality of life.

One of the newest joint treatments is MBST, a ground-breaking method that can slow down the degeneration caused by osteoarthritis. It utilises the body’s own energy to repair cartilage damage, improving mobility and eliminating pain associated with arthritis.

To find out if MBST is a good treatment option for you, book an appointment with MBST London today.