Osteoarthritis in former Elite Tennis players
Does tennis lead to shoulder disease?
The answer is probably ‘yes’, according to a study from
Argentina designed to compare the prevalence of glenohumeral
(shoulder) osteoarthritis in former elite tennis players and agematched
The researchers X-rayed 18 senior tennis players with an
average age of 57, and 18 matched non-tennis playing controls
for signs of osteoarthritic changes. Neither the players nor the
controls had any symptoms of osteoarthritis of any history of
shoulder surgery or major trauma.
They found that the players were three times more likely to
have osteoarthritic changes in their dominant shoulders than the
controls – a prevalence of 33% compared with 11%.
‘The tennis player who repeatedly hits overhead produces high
forces and large movements that place extreme demands on the
shoulder,’ the researchers point out.
They conclude that: ‘Prolonged intensive tennis practice may
be a predisposing factor for the development of mild degenerative
articular changes in the dominant shoulder’.
By Br J Sports Med
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