Prevalence of Knee Osteoarthritis in 100 Athletically Active Veteran Soccer Players Compared With a Matched Group of 100 Military Personnel

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Although knee injuries in professional soccer (football) have been extensively studied, the prevalence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) in veteran players is not well documented.


To investigate the prevalence of knee OA in retired professional soccer players in comparison with a group of athletically active military personnel.

Study Design:

Cross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.


A group of 100 veteran Greek soccer players aged 35 to 55 years (mean [±SD] age, 46.90 ± 5.9 years) were examined for knee OA and were administered the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) questionnaire. A matched group of 100 athletically active military personnel served as a comparison group.


The sonographic prevalence of OA was significantly higher in the veteran soccer group (52%) than in the military group (33%) (n = 200; P = .010). This difference remained significant even after excluding participants with a history of knee surgery (44.1% vs 25.3%, respectively) (n = 151; P = .010). Femoral cartilage thickness was similar between the 2 groups (P = .473), while altered knee alignment had no effect on the prevalence of OA (P = .740). With the exception of perceived pain being more prevalent in the military group, there were no other statistically significant differences between the 2 groups in KOOS values.


Veteran soccer players had a higher sonographic prevalence of knee OA but better pain scores than a matched group of athletically active military personnel.

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