Are people who participate in regular athletic activities, but have not sustained any known injury, at risk for developing osteoarthritis?
Can regular athletic activity result in arthritis years later? For example, does the impact of feet hitting the pavement or hands hitting a punching bag damage joints?
Can Sports Cause Osteoarthritis?
In an article published by Lequesne, Dang and Lane in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 1997, the relationship between athletics and osteoarthritis was considered. They concluded that osteoarthritis occurs prematurely in certain sports including:
- racket sports
- track and field
- long-distance running
Joint overuse even without injury is the main mechanism of osteoarthritis. Researchers hypothesize that irregular or sudden impacts, heavy loads on the lower limbs, and pre-existing limb abnormalities or trauma increase the risk. Recreational sports done at a "reasonable" level do not increase risk, according to researchers.
Other risk factors include:
Related Resources - Osteoarthritis
Answer provided by Scott J. Zashin, M.D., clinical assistant professor at University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Division of Rheumatology, in Dallas, Texas. Dr. Zashin is also an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospitals of Dallas and Plano. He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and the American College of Rheumatology and a member of the American Medical Association. Dr. Zashin is author of Arthritis Without Pain - The Miracle Of Anti-TNF Blockers. The book is a must-have for anyone on one of the biologic drugs (Enbrel, Remicade, Humira) or considering the biologic drugs. Read my review of the book.