Arthrosis in Children: What You Should Know

If you don't take the right measures, arthrosis in children can develop over time, especially in the case of children who practice sports.
Arthrosis in Children: What You Should Know

Last update: 20 April, 2021

Arthrosis is a condition that usually occurs with aging, which is why it rarely affects children. That said, arthrosis in children is possible, but it develops over time.

Joints are skeletal structures that serve as connections between two bones, such as the elbow, the knee, the hip, among others. These are all the body parts that allow us to perform movements. On the other hand, cartilage covers and protects the ends of the bones, and it’s essential for the joints, because it acts as a shock absorber. 

Is arthrosis in children possible?

Even though there are very few cases, it’s possible to develop childhood arthrosis, and suffer from it during adulthood. Thus, according to experts in the subject, the best thing to do is prevent it by taking certain precautions.

According to the director of the Spanish Society of Pediatric Orthopedics, Dr. Rosendo Ullot, it’s important to prevent joint lesions in order to avoid the development of arthrosis in children, because the causes are different than in the case of adults. He also talked to Europa Press and stated that: “Arthrosis in children is different than in adults. It has a different etiology and cause.”

Arthrosis in Children: What You Should Know

He also stated that children who practice sports are more likely to develop arthrosis. “Children who play soccer are at greater risk of developing arthrosis in the lower limbs. However, children who play basketball or handball may develop this condition in the upper limbs.”

What can cause arthrosis in children?

Besides practicing sports and not taking the necessary measures to prevent it, there are many factors that can lead to the development of this condition. These could be:

  • Suffering from an inflammatory disease in the joints, like juvenile idiopathic arthritis. According to Jordi Ardévol, traumatologist, this disease can cause severe joint lesions, which may lead to the use of prosthesis in the knee or hip.
  • Jordi Ardévol also states that articular cartilage lesions may lead to early arthrosis.
  • Joint or meniscus lesions and chronic workload.
  • Unfixed developmental dysplasia of the hip.
  • Other joint diseases.

How to prevent it

Some children are prone to develop arthrosis. Therefore, parents should pay attention to certain factors that may lead to the development of arthrosis in children:

  • Avoid risk factors, such as obesity, sedentarism, limb malformations, among others. 
  • Since children who practice sports are more prone to develop this condition, parents should take them to the doctor for regular physical check-ups.
  • Practice sports using proper equipment.
  • Increase physical activity little by little.
  • Children should avoid playing when they’re tired, injured or in pain.
  • If children get injured, they should cure the lesion before playing again.
  • Adopt healthy eating habits, in order to avoid becoming overweight.

Following this idea, it’s important for parents to know the kind of lesions their children may suffer, depending on the sport they’re playing. By doing this, they’ll know how to act, in case their children get injured.

Arthrosis in Children: What You Should Know

Sports most likely to contribute to the development of this condition

Some sports have more risk than others. According to Rosendo Ullot, one of the sports that may contribute to the development of this condition is soccer. This is because those who practice it tend to injure their medial collateral ligament, meniscus or anterior cruciate ligament.

In the case of basketball, injuries tend to occur in the ankle or the knee. This could be due to a twist or caused by an external force. Finally, he mentions gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics. In the case of these sports, microtrauma injuries, osteochondrosis (joint lesion), and calcaneal apophysitis (overload in the heel’s growth plate) are the most common injuries.

In conclusion, arthrosis in children can develop in the future if there’s no prevention. Parents must pay special attention to the injuries their kids may have when practicing sports, and take their children to the doctor for regular check-ups.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.