Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise vol:44 issue:6 pages:993-998
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate if the participation in load bearing sports is associated with significant knee alignment adaptations in adolescent boys, which might cause a higher risk for the development of knee osteoarthritis in later life. METHODS: Five hundred and twenty one healthy boys (from 7 to 18 years), selected from local primary and secondary schools, participated in the study. Two hundred and sixty five of them practiced competitive sports (track and field, field hockey, basketball, volleyball, tennis, badminton, and squash) for at least three hours a week. The other remaining 256 boys did not practice any kind of sports. Genu varum/valgum was determined by measuring the intercondylar (IC) and intermalleolar (IM) distance with the subjects in a relaxed erect standing position. The IC and/or IM distance was measured using a caliper. Both measurements were combined to one parameter: the IC-IM distance. A one-way analysis of variance was performed to analyze differences between the different age groups within the sporting and non sporting boys separately. For each age group, the IC-IM distances of the sporting and non sporting boys were compared by analysis of variance with post-hoc Bonferroni corrections. RESULTS: Comparison between the sporting and non-sporting boys showed that the sporting boys had a significantly higher degree of genu varum from the age of 13-15 years on (P= 0.01). CONCLUSION: Out of the results of this study it can be concluded that practising load bearing sports in general is associated with the same knee varus alignment in adolescent boys as previously has been indicated in intense soccer playing adolescents.