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Warning over sports injury risks

Wednesday October 27th 2010

A medical charity has raised concerns over the lack of research into the link between osteoarthritis (OA) and sports injury, warning that thousands of active people are at risk of developing the disabling joint condition.

A report by Arthritis Research UK found that more than half (56%) of physically active people have sustained sports injuries such as sprained ligaments, fractures and broken bones.

The findings reveal that many of those diagnosed with common sports injuries are likely to develop osteoarthritic changes in their joints 10 or 20 years after their injury.

The condition occurs due to wear and tear, leading to worn down joints, inflammation, stiffness and pain, and can become disabling.

According to the study, knee injuries, which account for up to half of all sports injuries, are especially associated with the condition, with previous studies having shown that on average half of two common knee injuries result in osteoarthritis.

However, the report said that evidence about the effects of fractures and repetitive loading on joints, for instance from running, is lacking.

It stressed the need for more research both into the causes of osteoarthritis and its prevention and management.

Professor Alan Silman, medical director of Arthritis Research UK, said: "Despite the overriding benefits of participating in sport and exercise, there are hidden hazards related to sports injury. From the limited research carried out, we know some sport-related injuries will cause osteoarthritis, which is a painful and debilitating condition."

The charity has launched a campaign, Taking the Pain Out of Sport, in a bid to collect evidence on the risks of sports injuries and their diagnosis and treatment to prevent OS.

Copyright © Press Association 2010

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