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Last week at the IBJR, we had a very interesting community seminar planned for everyone; Sporting Injuries and Osteoarthritis. Our speakers were our very own Professor David Hunter, who ExpertScape ( http://expertscape.com/ex/osteoarthritis) has listed as the world’s leading specialist in Osteoarthritis for June 2014, and Professor Chris Little, Director of the Raymond Purves Laboratory in IBJR. Together they delivered our audience with information about research that’s done in clinics and in a laboratory.

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Here are some key messages from both the talks!

Key messages from Professor Hunter’s talk:
1. ACL reconstructions are most common in young people in the 15-34 age group, and more common in males
2. Regardless of surgical invention or non-surgical methods, large proportions (~70%) of people with ACL injuries tend to develop Osteoarthritis within 5-10 years.
3. The two largest risk factors for OA are Injury and Obesity
4. Prevention is important and one way is to engage in neuromuscular training. This is essentially a series of exercises to train athletes in the right way to move without injuring themselves (e.g. http://f-marc.com/11plus/exercises/). This is also helpful after injury to prevent re-injury.
5. While the pains of OA can be inconsistent and unstable, the management of activities that can cause an increase in pain such as proper footwear, pain relieving medications and physical activity can improve life with OA.

Key messages from Professor Little’s talk:
1. There are many elements to the development of OA after an injury. Experiments have shown that if mechanisms that cause inflammation in the joint are prevented, OA may not develop.
2. The cause of OA, be it age or injury, affects the outcome and what treatments may work.
3. The timing of treatment will matter. This is because different things happen in joint at different stages of the injury.
4. The joint may not be the only target to treat OA. When happens outside the joint such as muscle strength, obesity and hormonal status can affect what goes on in the joint. Hence the need to “think outside the joint”.
5. While we have brilliant laboratory research now, it will take 10 – 15 years for it to actually affect OA treatment.

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