Osteoarthritis (OA) used to be considered a degenerative disease of “wear and tear” affecting older individuals. However, there is steady growth of OA in younger individuals (less than age 50). This is a significant health problem since these people will likely live with OA for a much longer time than previous generations.
Risk factors for developing early OA:
1. Joint injury – such as anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear, meniscal tear
2. Obesity – increases risk of OA by 2 mechanisms: excess body fat releases inflammatory mediators which contribute to the joint damage in OA; the excess body weight increases the load on the joint contributing to early wear and tear