Footballer and rheumatoid arthritis

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Football, or soccer, as it is called in the United States is a rigorous sport that requires superb conditioning.

While there is no firm relationship between it and rheumatoid arthritis there is data linking it to the development of other conditions.

Football players can play their sport despite having rheumatoid arthritis. My son developed juvenile ankylosing spondylitis, a close cousin to rheumatoid arthritis, at the age of ten. He was playing with a travel soccer team but eventually had to leave the team because he was not performing well as a result of his disease. However, after a period of time he was seen by an excellent pediatric rheumatologist and was placed on a biologic medicine which got him into remission. He was able to continue soccer at a fairly high level until college when he decided to play rugby instead.

As one might imagine, another type of arthritis, osteoarthritis, is associated with having played football at the highest level.

Br J Sports Med 2000; 34:332-336
© 2000 the British Journal of Sports Medicine

Long term health impact of playing professional football in the United Kingdom

Andy P Turner, Julie H Barlow and Christian Heathcote-Elliott

Psychosocial Research Centre, School of Health and Social Sciences, Coventry University, United Kingdom

Objective—To describe the long term impact of football on the health related quality of life (HRQL) of former professional footballers in the United Kingdom.

Method—A cross sectional survey gathered data from 284 former professional players. Respondents reported medical treatments, osteoarthritis (OA) diagnosis, other morbidity, disability status, and work related disability since their football career. The EuroQol (EQ-5D) and global health rating scales were selected to assess HRQL.

Results—Medical treatment for football related injuries was a common feature, as was OA, with the knee being the most commonly affected joint. Respondents with OA reported poorer HRQL compared with those without OA. As with medical treatments and problems on each of the five EQ-5D dimensions (pain, mobility, usual activities, anxiety/depression, self care), frequency of disability and work related disability were higher among respondents with OA than those without.

Conclusion—This exploratory study suggests that playing professional football can impact on the health of United Kingdom footballers in later life. The development of OA was associated with poorer outcomes on all aspects of HRQL.

Rheumatology Volume 13 Number 3, pp 141-147
© 1974 British Society for Rheumatology

Comparative study of ibuprofen and aspirin in soft tissue injuries

David S. Muckle

Accident Service, Radeliffe Infirmary Oxford

A double-blind trial of ibuprofen (Brufen) and aspirin was carried out in 60 soft-tissue injuries to the lower limb in a small group of rigorously supervised professional footballers. Ibuprofen significantly reduced the period and severity of pain (p<0.01) and allowed training on average two days earlier than the controls taking aspirin (p<0.001). Players were also able to reach match fitness earlier with ibuprofen (p<0.01). The possible action and use of anti-inflammatory agents given immediately after soft-tissue trauma are discussed.

Periostitis of the Upper Extremity: A Report of 2 Cases and Literature Review.

Clinical Orthopaedics & Related Research. (324):222-226, March 1996.
Meese, Michael A. MD; Sebastianelli, Wayne J. MD


Periostitis in the athlete is a common overuse clinical entity often found in the lower extremity. An analogous overuse syndrome also may occur in the upper extremity. These 2 case reports describe the history, physical findings, radiographic changes, and treatment for periostitis of the upper extremity rarely seen in the athletic population.

(C) Lippincott-Raven Publishers.

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