Knee Osteoarthritis After Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury.

Oiestad BE, Engebretsen L, Storheim K and Risberg MA. Am J Sports Med (2009) 37:1434–1443.

This is the editor's interpretation of a paper published in the orthopaedic literature in 2009 - our attempt to make relevant medical articles accessible to lay readers. If you wish to read the original it is easy to ask your librarian to obtain a reprint for you from any medical library.

The authors review the medical literature to try and determine the incidence of osteoarthritis (OA) in the tibiofemoral joint of the knee in patients more than ten years on from their initial injury. They also noted the classification systems used to assess the radiographic (eg X-ray) images and the risk factors for OA in this population.

A lot of this paper involves a discussion of their method of analysing the literature, and it seemed to be a hard task as there was very little commonality of method in the papers they explored.

Their basic conclusions were that the profession "should discontinue reporting that subjects with ACL injury have a prevalence of knee OA between 50% and 100%". Their researches suggested this to be much lower - from 0% to 13%.