Do early life factors affect the development of knee osteoarthritis in later life: a narrative review
Antony, B and Jones, G and Jin, X and Ding, C, Do early life factors affect the development of knee osteoarthritis in later life: a narrative review, Arthritis Research & Therapy, 18, (1) Article 202. ISSN 1478-6362 (2016) [Refereed Article]
Osteoarthritis (OA) mainly affects older populations; however, it is possible that early life factors contribute to the development of OA in later life. The aim of this review is to describe the association between childhood or early adulthood risk factors and knee pain, structural imaging markers and development of knee OA in later life. A narrative overview of the literature synthesising the findings of literature retrieved from searches of computerised databases and manual searches was conducted. We found that only a few studies have explored the long-term effect of childhood or early adulthood risk factors on the markers of joint health that predispose people to OA or joint symptoms. High body mass index (BMI) and/or overweight status from childhood to adulthood were independently related to knee pain and OA in later life. The findings regarding the association between strenuous physical activity and knee structures in young adults are still conflicting. However, a favourable effect of moderate physical activity and fitness on knee structures is reported. Childhood physical activity and performance measures had independent beneficial effects on knee structures including knee cartilage in children and young adults. Anterior knee pain syndrome in adolescence could lead to the development of patellofemoral knee OA in the late 40s. Furthermore, weak evidence suggests that childhood malalignment, socioeconomic status and physical abuse are associated with OA in later life. The available evidence suggests that early life intervention may prevent OA in later life.