A study conducted by Boston researchersexamined the effect of tears ofthe knee's anterior cruciate ligament(ACL). The researchers found that ACLtears also increase the risk and severity ofknee osteoarthritis (OA). For the study, theresearchers looked at 360 men andwomen, mean age of 67, with advancedpainful knee OA and 73 control participants.In the control group, 48 had kneeOA but no pain, and 25 had neither kneeOA symptoms nor knee discomfort. Theindividuals with advanced OA had a marginallyhigher body mass index, comparedwith the control group.
Using magnetic resonance imaging toevaluate the occurrence of past cruciate ligamenttears in the participants, theresearchers found that posterior cruciate ligamenttears were observed in <1% of thestudy group and none in the control group.A bigger difference was seen in ACL tears.The results of the study indicated ACL tearswere found in almost 25% of the participantswith advanced knee OA, compared with<3% of the control group. Approximately48% of the participants with complete ACLtears reported a previous knee injury.
"Due to the cross-sectional nature of thisstudy, we could not ascertain when theACL ruptures occurred. The intervalbetween ACL injury and significant kneesymptoms may be as long as 30 years,providing one explanation for low recall ofsignificant knee injury in our study," saidresearcher Catherine L. Hill, MD.