While osteoarthritis (OA) is often associated with aging joints, it is also associated with younger individuals who have suffered a joint injury or undergone surgery. This type of OA is commonly referred to as posttraumatic osteoarthritis (PTOA). This subtype of OA is of particular importance because it can have significantly larger costs to the health care system, because of the longer duration of treatment needed. A recent study examined the relationship between ACL injuries, ACL surgery and the development of PTOA, to further examine the prevalence of PTOA with ACL injuries
The meta-analysis (statistical analysis that draws data from multiple scientific studies) published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, examined >4000 patients. The estimated proportion of PTOA after ACL surgery at 5, 10, and 20 years was 11.3%, 20.6%, and 51.6%, respectively. The study also found that longer amounts of time between initial ACL injury and subsequent surgery, as well as increased age, were associated with increased chances of PTOA development. In light of these findings, the researchers recommended a timely referral and treatment of symptomatic patients in order to decrease the occurrence of PTOA.