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South African Journal of Sports Medicine

On-line version ISSN 2078-516X
Print version ISSN 1015-5163


CARMODY, S et al. Osteoarthritic changes in the knees of recently retired male professional footballers: a pilot study. SA J. Sports Med. [online]. 2022, vol.34, n.1, pp.1-7. ISSN 2078-516X.

BACKGROUND: Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is common amongst retired male professional footballers. There is limited understanding with respect to the interplay between imaging findings, clinical presentation and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) in retired professional footballers with knee OA. OBJECTIVES: This pilot study aimed to evaluate the extent of radiological and clinical knee OA in a cohort of retired male professional footballers, and to explore the relationship between these findings and knee-related PROMs METHODS: Fifteen retired male professional footballers underwent knee radiographs and were surveyed on their history of clinical OA, severe knee injury and previous knee surgery. The Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score Physical Function Short Form (KOOS-PS) and the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System Global Health (PROMIS-GH) were used to assess health outcomes, such as level of function and pain. RESULTS: Radiological knee OA was diagnosed in six out of 15 participants. Seven of the participants had a clinical diagnosis of knee OA. Evidence of clinical and radiological OA was present amongst four participants. Radiological knee OA and clinical OA was significantly associated with a history of severe knee injury and previous knee surgery. Low correlations (ρ< -0.40) were found between knee OA severity and knee-related PROMs. Moderate correlation (ρ=-0.65) was found between clinical knee OA and KOOS-SP. CONCLUSION: Clinical knee OA correlates with PROMs amongst retired professional footballers but radiological OA does not. Further studies are required to understand the relationship between imaging findings, clinical presentation and PROMs amongst retired professional footballers with knee OA.

Keywords : osteoarthritis; knee injuries; professional footballers; retirement.

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