To investigate a cohort of professional ballet dancers for evidence of early signs of osteoarthritis (OA).
One radiologist and 1 orthopedic surgeon specialized in musculoskeletal disorders analyzed magnetic resonance imaging scans independently.
University Teaching Hospital.
Fifteen professional ballet dancers (4 males and 11 females; age range, 19-36 years) experiencing chronic pain in the hip, knee, spine, ankle, or foot joints.
Presence of osteophytes, subchondral sclerosis, joint space narrowing, cysts, and bone marrow changes; the Kellgren and Lawrence scale was used to quantify the knee OA.
In the knee, there was thinning and irregularity of the articular cartilage over the medial femoral condyle and bone marrow changes within the lateral femoral condyle. In the hip, there was a loss of joint space and a frayed labrum with deep recess. The first metatarsophalangeal joint showed evidence of osteophytic development.
Early signs of OA, in different joints, were present in a small but highly selected cohort of professional ballet dancers. In future, prospective studies among a number of ballet companies should control for medical and natural history alongside the visual analysis of images and plain radiographs to confirm these preliminary results.
*Centre for Sports and Exercise Medicine, Queen Mary University of London, London, England, United Kingdom;
†The Physiotherapy department, Royal Ballet Company, London, England, United Kingdom;
‡The Outpatient Department, London Independent Hospital, London, England, United Kingdom; and
§University of Salerno School of Medicine, Salerno, Italy.
Corresponding Author: Nicola Maffulli, MD, PhD, University of Salerno School of Medicine, Salerno, 84081, Italy (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The authors report no conflicts of interest.
Received February 15, 2013
Accepted September 12, 2013