Publication in Arthritis Care & Research

Projecting Lifetime Risk of Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis and Total Knee Replacement in Individuals Sustaining a Complete Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) Tear in Early Adulthood

This article was published in February 2017 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Why ACL Tears Are Important for Knee Osteoarthritis

The incidence of ACL injuries is increasing; an estimated 5% of competitive year-round athletes experience an ACL injury each year. These injuries mostly occur in young, active people, and they have serious implications for developing knee OA later in life. However, because injuries occur many decades prior to OA development, studies estimating the lifetime risk of knee OA after injury are limited.

Study Design

We used the OAPol model to forecast the lifetime risk of knee OA and total knee replacement eligibility in persons with a complete ACL tear at age 25. We compared this to lifetime risk of knee OA and total knee replacement eligibility in an non-injured cohort.

Our Results

In our simulation model, people with ACL injury and meniscal tears had a 34% estimated lifetime risk of knee OA, while those who did not have injuries had a 14% lifetime risk of developing knee OA. Estimated lifetime risk of TKR was 22% for persons with ACL and meniscal tears, compared to 6% for those without injuries.