[Is competitive running associated with osteoarthritis of the hip or the knee?]

Orthopade. 2006 Oct;35(10):1087-92. doi: 10.1007/s00132-006-0998-7.
[Article in German]


Background: The aim of the study was to find what degenerative changes were present in the hip and knee joints of former elite marathon runners and how these subjects' joints differ from those of control persons.

Methods: Twenty former elite German marathon runners (active careers 1972-86) underwent clinical (FFbH-OA [hip joint] and AKSS [knee joint]) and radiographic (hip and knee joints, Kellgren and Lawrence classification) examination. X-Rays of the hip joints were compared with those of controls matched for age, gender and BMI who did not engage in much sport.

Results: In the group of former elite marathon runners, 3 of the 38 knee joints for which comparison with control joints was possible were found to be affected by grade 2 osteoarthritis. In the same group, severe osteoarthritis (Kellgren and Lawrence grade 3) was documented in 1 and moderate osteoarthritis (grade 2) in 6 of the 28 hips for which direct comparison against the controls was possible, as against 1 hip affected by grade 2 osteoarthritis in the entire control group. The clinical evaluation showed high scores in all athletes.

Conclusions: Osteoarthritis of the knee joint is rare in former elite marathon runners. The risk of osteoarthritis of the hip joint seems to be higher than in control subjects who do not engage in much sport.

Publication types

  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Cumulative Trauma Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / diagnostic imaging*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnostic imaging*
  • Prevalence
  • Radiography
  • Risk Assessment*
  • Risk Factors
  • Running*