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A systematic review of the medical literature shows anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), meniscus or combined ACL and meniscus injury significantly increases the risk of future knee osteoarthritis (OA).
The metanalysis comprised 53 studies and nearly 1 million participants, including 185,219 with ACL injury (mean age 28 years), 83,267 with meniscal injury (mean 38 years) and 725,362 with combined injury (mean 31 years).
The odds of developing knee OA were:
- ACL injury: OR = 4.2 (95% CI 2.2 to 8.0; I2=92%)
- Meniscal injury: OR = 6.3 (95% CI 3.8 to 10.5; I2=95%)
- Combined injuries: OR = 6.4 (95% CI 4.9 to 8.3; I2=62%)
Although limited by large inconsistency in study design, follow-up and comparator arms and few high-quality studies, an injured knee has a 4 to 6 fold higher risk of future knee OA, compared with a non-injured knee.
These data suggest a need for modifying future OA risk in those experiencing ACL or meniscal injury.