A study conducted by Boston researchers
examined the effect of tears of
the knee's anterior cruciate ligament
(ACL). The researchers found that ACL
tears also increase the risk and severity of
knee osteoarthritis (OA). For the study, the
researchers looked at 360 men and
women, mean age of 67, with advanced
painful knee OA and 73 control participants.
In the control group, 48 had knee
OA but no pain, and 25 had neither knee
OA symptoms nor knee discomfort. The
individuals with advanced OA had a marginally
higher body mass index, compared
with the control group.
Using magnetic resonance imaging to
evaluate the occurrence of past cruciate ligament
tears in the participants, the
researchers found that posterior cruciate ligament
tears were observed in <1% of the
study group and none in the control group.
A bigger difference was seen in ACL tears.
The results of the study indicated ACL tears
were found in almost 25% of the participants
with advanced knee OA, compared with
<3% of the control group. Approximately
48% of the participants with complete ACL
tears reported a previous knee injury.
"Due to the cross-sectional nature of this
study, we could not ascertain when the
ACL ruptures occurred. The interval
between ACL injury and significant knee
symptoms may be as long as 30 years,
providing one explanation for low recall of
significant knee injury in our study," said
researcher Catherine L. Hill, MD.