Todd Gurley has Osteoarthritis
Todd Gurley’s lack of use in the playoffs was a mystery to all fans not only because no injury was disclosed but also because there appeared to be no play or hit that could have caused it. Well, we are no longer in the dark as reports indicate that he has arthritis in the knee.
What is arthritis? There are two type of arthritis: Osteoarthritis (OA) & Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
- RA is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in joints. Not what Gurley has.
- OA occurs when the protective cartilage at the end of the femur, tibia, and/or patella (bones that connect to form the knee joint) wear down. Gurley is suffering from OA.
How common is this injury?
- In the normal population, about 10-13% of older adults experience symptomatic OA. For former elite athletes that are middle aged or older adults, several different studies have reported ranges from 16-95% with the majority of these studies reporting around a 30% prevalence. That’s a huge increase from the general population!
So, OA occurs overtime and has a high rate in former elite athlete that are much older. Why the heck does Gurley have OA?
- The keys are that (1) Gurley tore his ACL in 2014 and (2) football is a impact sport. An extensive study showed that impact athletes that have had a previous knee injury were at a significantly higher risk of developing knee OA. Furthermore, as a running back he needs to constantly be starting, stopping, and changing directions rapidly. These motions combined with constantly getting hit below the waist can really increase the wear and tear that is occurring on an elite running back’s knee.
We will dive deeper into this injury in a future series so you can see what our favorite exercises are for attempting to prevent this injury and recover from it!