Sports Elite Are at Increased Risk of Joint Pain and Osteoarthritis Later in Life

Cropped shot of an unrecognizable female physiotherapist treating a male patientIt’s no secret that athletes are at a higher risk of developing joint pain and osteoarthritis. But what may come as a surprise is just how much higher that risk is for those who participate in elite-level sports. A recent study found that one in four retired Olympians reported osteoarthritis diagnoses.

Osteoarthritis is a form of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage that cushions the ends of your bones starts to break down. It can occur in any joint, but it most often affects joints in the hands, knees, hips, and spine. Osteoarthritis gradually worsens over time and can lead to pain and stiffness.


Osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis and becomes more common as you age, but this new study suggests it may be even more of a risk for elite athletes. As the largest international study of its kind, researchers observed the consequences of
osteoarthritis and pain in different joints from retired elite athletes across different summer and winter Olympic sports.

All 3,357 participants were quizzed about their injuries and their bones, muscles, joints, and spine health. They were also asked if they had an osteoarthritis diagnosis or were experiencing joint pain.

It was found that the knee, shoulder, and knee were the most injury-prone areas for Olympians. These were also among the most common locations for pain and osteoarthritis. After an injury, Olympians were also more likely to develop osteoarthritis than someone in the general population sustaining a similar injury.

“High-performance sport is associated with an increased risk of sports-related injury and there is emerging evidence suggesting retired elite athletes have high rates of post-traumatic osteoarthritis. This study provides new evidence for specific factors associated with pain and osteoarthritis in retired elite athletes across the knee, hip, ankle, lumbar and cervical spine, and shoulder, and identifies differences in their occurrence that are specific to Olympians,” said Dr. Debbie Palmer, Moray House School of Education and Sport.

Joint and Bone Health


Although this study focuses on elite athletes, everyone should take steps to help their joints as they age. Joints may require support throughout life to help them stay strong, flexible, and healthy. If you are concerned about spine health or suffer from lower back pain, knee pain, or even ankle pain, your joints may need some special attention.

Healthy Joints contains multiple ingredients to help support and improve joint health. The primary ingredient in Health Joints is AprèsFlex®, an extract from Boswellia, which has been found in studies to provide rapid support for joint health and mobility. This unique formula also contains glucosamine and chondroitin, which contain compounds that are some of the building blocks of healthy joints.

Supporting bone health is also essential as you age. Bone Rescue can help to support the maintenance and development of bones thanks to its unique formula, including strontium. Chemically similar to calcium, strontium can provide great support for aging bones. Bone Rescue contains 680 mg of strontium along with additional ingredients to help keep bones strong and healthy.

Author Bio

Sarah began her interest in nutritional healing at an early age. After going through health problems and becoming frustrated with the conventional ways doctors wanted to treat her illness (which were not working), she took it upon herself to find alternative treatments. This led her to revolutionize her own diet to help her get healthier and tackle her health problems. She began treating her illness by living a more balanced lifestyle through healthy food choices, exercise and other alternative medicine such as meditation. This total positive lifestyle change led her to earn a diploma in Nutritional Therapy from Health Sciences Academy in London, England. Today, Sarah enjoys helping others by teaching healthy lifestyle changes through her personal consultations and with her regular contributions to the Doctors Health Press. Also, passionate about following her dreams in life, Sarah moved to France and lived in Paris for over 5 years where she earned a certification in beadwork and embroidery from Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel). She then went on to be a familiar face sitting front row and reporting from Paris Fashion Week. Sarah continues to practice some of the cultural ways of life she learned while in Europe. They enjoy their food, and take the time to relax and enjoy many of life’s little moments. These are life lessons she is glad to have brought back home with her.