Study: Osteoarthritis is more likely in post-surgery patients who lose range of motion

Kevin Magna

July 13, 2011

Recent research conducted at the Shelbourne Knee Center found that loss of motion following reconstructive ACL surgery may be a contributing factor to the development of osteoarthritis. The causes of the degenerative joint disease are largely unknown, but old age is thought to be a major factor as almost everyone shows symptoms by the age of 70, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Osteoarthritis can cause pain and stiffness in the joints, which may be worsened by physical activity, and this could increase the risk of falls and other injuries. Individuals who have symptoms of osteoarthritis can purchase senior alert systems, which will send out medical alerts if they are hurt and cannot otherwise get help.

"Our research shows that patients given rehabilitation that emphasizes full motion be obtained and maintained throughout time after surgery have more favorable results on x-rays than patients who lose motion," said K. Donald Shelbourne, the lead researcher.

The scientists examined 780 individuals who had ACL reconstruction a minimum of five years prior to the study. Of the participants who displayed a full range of motion, roughly 71 percent had no signs of arthritic changes. Nearly half of individuals who had limited motion also showed signs of osteoarthritis.