Teen Athletes Experienced Increased Osteoarthritis Risk

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soccerRecent research shows that teens and children who play high-intensity sports are 10 times more likely to get hip osteoarthritis. Swiss researchers have explained that deformities in the femur appear and that they lead to pain during motion and reduced rotation among younger competitive athletes. Athletes therefore, have a higher chance to get osteoarthritis than individuals who are more sedentary, this is according to a researcher from the University of Bern, Switzerland, Dr. Klaus Siebenrock.

Study Methodology

The study involved examining the hips of male basketball players. The motion range and physical condition of 37 professional players (that is 72 hips), and 38 control players (76 hips), were examined. The control members had not actively participated in very high-level sports. Teens and men who had played basketball in elite clubs since 8 years were likely to get hip osteoarthritis than those who didn’t participate in sports. Ages 9-25 years was the ages of the study group.

Researchers found that the athletes had deformities of the femur that caused the thighbone to contact the hip socket abnormally. From the deformities, painful hip movements and reduced internal hip rotation resulted. In late adolescence, the researchers noted the problems got worse.

When teens and children who are still developing play the high-level sports, they have a higher chance of having abnormal bone development, which may result in early development of hip osteoarthritis.

The thighbone or femur is the largest and longest bone in the human body. The participants went through evaluation of their medical history and MRI of the hips.


Eleven out of the 72 hips showed deformity and were painful in the sporty youths (15%). The control group had 30.1 degrees in internal rotation, while the athletes had internal rotation averaging 18.9 degrees. Further, the alpha angle’s maximum value stood at an average of 60.5 degrees for the athletes and 47.4 degrees for the control group. The alpha angle refers to the measurement in the abnormality of the hip.

The conclusion is that environmental factors, for example, high-level sports in childhood and teen years that occur at the time that the femur plate is closing, may trigger developmental deformity in the thigh bone. The study therefore is an indication of the femoral changes that occur among teen and child athletes, which is a major component of the elevated incidence in osteoarthritis of the hip that is observed in the athletes.

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