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Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1985 Aug;17(4):434-9.

Knee joint in soccer players: osteoarthritis and axis deviation.


The knee joints of 81 veteran soccer players between ages 40 and 74 were examined. An analysis of and relationships between soccer practice at a top level, osteoarthritis, meniscectomy, and leg axes were evaluated. One-hundred and sixty-two knees were assessed through clinical examination and X-ray examination using a large table in order to observe the entire lower extremity's axis in weight bearing. First, it appears that radiological signs of osteoarthritis in soccer players increase with age in a much greater percentage than in a random population of the same age. Second, all players who have had a meniscectomy presented with radiological signs of osteoarthritis. In this series, 91 knees (56%) had X-ray signs of osteoarthritis. 64 knees (70%) in which the roentgenograms showed significant osteoarthritic changes were clinically asymptomatic. Third, the lower extremities displayed a varus angulation of both knees in 73% (meaning that 59 veteran players have a varus of both legs), while 81% of all the knees showed a varus deviation.

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