Osteoarthritis and Sports: Young Athletes

Young Athletes with “Old Joints”

Studies show that athletes who train, practice, and play sports that range over the novice level, are more likely to develop Osteoarthritis than those individuals that exercise at a more moderate level. Performing in sports activities during your adolescent years can increase your susceptibility to the disease.

“Osteoarthritis Sports”

The participation in vigorous sports, such as basketball, track and field, and baseball can result in various stressors and injuries to the joints.  

Dr. Klaus Siebenrock of the University of Bern in Switzerland states that Osteoarthritis of the hip is prevalent among sports enthusiast, even at the high-school level. The development of Osteoarthritis is linked to high intensity training and the physical load on the joints. Most individuals who develop Osteoarthritis are older adults, so these young athletes will have a battle as the age. 

Many athletes are programmed to work through the pain.

Many coaches and sports therapist are aware that high intensity sports can cause osteoarthritis. Many times, they will suggest to the athlete that an injury will likely lead to arthritis later in life, but they do not explain in full detail what this will mean to their future health. 

It is crucial that young individuals, parents, coaches, and sports therapist think realistically about the consequences of sports on osteoarthritis. This is not to say that the young athlete should bow out of their sport. This just means that they should be well aware of the dangers; they should take all injuries seriously, report them, and allow adequate healing time. If they are in any pain, it needs to be evaluated immediately. Osteoarthritis is better managed from the start, even as a preventative measure. 

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