Sports Related Injury and Osteoarthritis

Sports Related Injury and Osteoarthritis

Our Research on Sports Related Injury and Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common chronic joint disease: more than one third of individuals at age greater than 60 have evidence of OA. As the leading cause of disability, the burden of OA on quality of life is substantial. Limited by the understanding of OA pathogenesis, currently available treatments focus on managing the symptoms, primarily alleviating the pain, without modifying the progression of the disease. As a result, total joint replacement is often the only option to maintain function capability as OA progresses. The direct cost of joint replacement in the United States was estimated to be over $40 billion yearly.

Traumatic knee injury is one of the most significant contributors to the development of OA: up to 50% of knees with a previous anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) rupture and/or meniscus tear show radiography evidence of OA after a silent period of 5 to 15 years post-injury. We hypothesize that molecular changes occurred upon an acute joint injury initiate and propagate tissue degeneration over time and lead to OA symptoms years later.

In an effort to characterize the early molecular changes after injury within knee capsule, HIHG researchers are collaborating with Dr. Lee Kaplan, the Director of Uhealth Sports Performance & Wellness Institute and Medical Director & Head Team Physician for University Of Miami Athletics. This research holds great promise to identify novel pharmaceutical targets that can stop or slow down the development of OA after injury, as well as identify informative biomarkers to detect OA at early stage when intervention is likely to be most effective.