ACL injuries may increase risk of osteoarthritis development

A new report suggests that business owners may want to advise workers to be careful where they step when on slippery surfaces, as knee injuries may lead to potentially debilitating conditions.

According to the Orthopedic Research Society, injuries to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), may accelerate the development of osteoarthritis, or the deterioration of cartilage that line the bones.

Richard Frobell of Sweden’s Lund University recently presented his finding at the Annual Meeting of the Orthopedic Research Society. He indicated that based on clinical analysis, when people incur ACL injuries – which often require surgery to fully recover from – the shape of the affected bone can change less than half a year after a procedure is done. It’s these changes that may cause workers to experience osteoarthritis.

“In order to develop interventions, we need to identify those with osteoarthritis as early as possible,” said Frobell. “Our research aims to identify early changes of the shape of the bones in the knee joint.”

Additionally, Frobell stressed that he and his research team will rely on other analysis that’s been done on knee injuries in order to pinpoint what the leading risk factors are for osteoarthritis development.

Osteoarthritis is second to rheumatoid arthritis in prevalence. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it affects approximately 20 million people in the nation alone.

Similarly, ACL injuries are quite common, both in the workplace and in workers’ personal lives, such as during strenuous physical activity. ACL injuries impact an estimated 250,000 people in the U.S. on an annual basis, resulting in health care costs of $2 billion, based on statistics from the CDC. It also leads to reduced work productivity due to workers having to recuperate before they can return to the office.

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