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Do athletes get osteoarthritis?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Medicine
Osteoarthritis occurs most commonly in "elite athletes." This term refers to athletes competing at the professional, collegiate, or extremely competitive amateur level. Some research has shown that 3.3% of elite athletes have osteoarthritis, compared to 1.4% of people who are not athletes. But this doesn't mean that exercise and competition is unsafe. Research suggests that exercise and other recreational activities can decrease risk of total knee replacement. In most cases, athletes experience osteoarthritis because of complications from injuries.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.