Background: Although knee injuries in professional soccer (football) have been extensively studied, the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) in veteran players is not well documented.
Purpose: To investigate the prevalence of knee OA in retired professional soccer players in comparison with a group of athletically active military personnel.
Study design: Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.
Methods: A group of 100 veteran Greek soccer players aged 35 to 55 years (mean [±SD] age, 46.90 ± 5.9 years) were examined for knee OA and were administered the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) questionnaire. A matched group of 100 athletically active military personnel served as a comparison group.
Results: The sonographic prevalence of OA was significantly higher in the veteran soccer group (52%) than in the military group (33%) (n = 200; P = .010). This difference remained significant even after excluding participants with a history of knee surgery (44.1% vs 25.3%, respectively) (n = 151; P = .010). Femoral cartilage thickness was similar between the 2 groups (P = .473), while altered knee alignment had no effect on the prevalence of OA (P = .740). With the exception of perceived pain being more prevalent in the military group, there were no other statistically significant differences between the 2 groups in KOOS values.
Conclusion: Veteran soccer players had a higher sonographic prevalence of knee OA but better pain scores than a matched group of athletically active military personnel.
Keywords: aging athlete; diagnostic ultrasound imaging; football (soccer); knee.
© 2016 The Author(s).