‘Weekend athletes’ face greater arthritis risk, says orthopedic surgeon

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 06 November, 2012, 4:41pm
UPDATED : Friday, 23 November, 2012, 2:12pm

“Weekend athletes” were at greater risk of suffering degenerative arthritis than those exercising regularly during the week, a leading Hong Kong orthopedic surgeon warned on Tuesday.

Dr Chow Kai-pun said people who exercised a lot at the weekend risked harming their joints – particularly their ligaments. These injuries most commonly affected people’s wrists, knees, and vertebrates. These accounted for 30 per cent of all sports injuries, he revealed.

Chow noted that degenerative arthritis was not just a disease affecting old people. He said old age was only one factor leading to the disease, adding that people’s lifestyles was the main cause.

Other major causes were obesity, incorrect use of exercise equipment and poor treatment of injuries. Chow said people who were overweight were at greater risk because their joints were heavier. In the long-term, this could wear down their cartilage – particularly after heavy exercise.

Chow said it was also important for people to follow doctors’ advice about taking medication. He said an example of patients not following medical advice properly were people suffering gastric bleeding after taking too many painkillers.

Chow advised people to allocate their exercise times more evenly over a week. They should also go walking, swimming and cycling instead of just doing highly competitive sports.