Sports with bat or racket not tied to thumb-base osteoarthritis
Repetitive joint use is a risk factor for osteoarthritis, which is a leading cause of disability. Sports requiring a bat or racket to perform repetitive high-velocity impacts may increase the risk of thumb-base osteoarthritis. However, this hypothesis remains untested.
Within a community-based cohort, a self-reported history of participation in racket or bat sports was not associated with an increased odds of having radiographic or symptomatic thumb-base osteoarthritis in the dominant hand, reported a recent study published in the Journal of Athletic Training.
Researchers from the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy, & Immunology, Tufts Medical Center, Boston, MA, USA aimed to determine if a history of participation in racket or bat sports is associated with the prevalence of thumb-base osteoarthritis.
A descriptive epidemiological study was conducted at four clinical sites which included men and women from the community. Eligible participants had dominant hand radiographic readings, hand symptom assessments, and historical physical activity survey data.
A history of exposure to racket or bat sports (baseball/softball, racquetball/squash, badminton, table tennis, tennis [doubles/singles]) was based on self-reported recall data covering 3 age ranges (12–18 years, 19–34 years, 35–49 years).
Prevalent radiographic thumb-base osteoarthritis was defined as someone with Kellgren-Lawrence grade≥2 in the first carpometacarpal joint or scaphotrapezoidal joint at the OAI baseline visit. Symptomatic thumb-base osteoarthritis was defined as the presence of radiographic osteoarthritis and hand/finger symptoms.
The authors included a total of 2309 participants. The results showed that among 1049 men, 355 (34%) and 56 (5%) had radiographic or symptomatic thumb-base osteoarthritis, respectively; and among 1260 women, 535 (42%) and 170 (13%), respectively.
After adjusting for age, race, and education level, we found no statistically significant associations between a history of any racket or bat sport participation and thumb-base osteoarthritis.
Hence, the authors concluded that "within a community-based cohort, a self-reported history of participation in racket or bat sports was not associated with an increased odds of having radiographic or symptomatic thumb-base osteoarthritis in the dominant hand."