Model Developed to Predict Osteoarthritis After Knee Injury


A new study has shown how osteoarthritis develops following an injury to the knee, and could help predict the development of the condition.

The scientists found how different mechanisms can cause cartilage damage.

Tissue around the joints

Cartilage is the tissue that covers the surface of the joints in the body. It acts as a shock absorber and allows bones to move against each other without friction.

Cartilage can become damaged due to wear and tear, or injury.

Cartilage damage

Damage to cartilage can ultimately lead to osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is when the cartilage breaks down. It causes pain and swelling in the joints, and can make movement difficult.

It is the most common type of arthritis and often affects people as they get older. Symptoms can be mild, or they can be severe and make it difficult for people to carry out their everyday activities. In severe cases, surgery may be needed to repair, strengthen or replace the damaged joint.

It is know that the risk of osteoarthritis is increased when there is an injury to one of the joints. A major injury or operation on a joint may lead to osteoarthritis in that joint at some point further down the line.

Mechanisms of action

This study by the University of Eastern Finland and Massachusetts Institute of Technology looked at the mechanisms behind this link between knee injury and osteoarthritis. The results of the study were published in the journal Scientific Reports.

The researchers found that different mechanisms can cause cartilage degradation after a knee injury, in particular fluid flow and tissue deformation.

They developed a model that could be used to predict osteoarthritis in people who have had a knee injury.

Gustavo A Orozco, one of the researchers said: “Our findings indicate that after an injury in the knee and subsequent tissue loading, osteoarthritis is caused by easy leakage of proteoglycans through the injury surface by high fluid outflow.”

Optimise rehabilitation

The model could be used to help optimise rehabilitation in people with knee injuries and show who is high risk and low risk.

This can mean treatment and rehabilitation can be personalised according to the person’s level of risk. The researchers also conclude that “potential treatment options should target methods that would be able to decrease the fluid outflow.”


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