Players tremble at knee study

PREMIER LEAGUE footballers have a fresh worry, to add to being absurdly rich and having daft haircuts. Playing the field with those gasping groupies could give them knee problems - caused by sexually-transmitted bacteria which lead to a form of arthritis.

A scientific study last year found that the longstanding knee problems of five Premiership players were caused by microscopic bugs rather than a big boot, and that their source was almost certainly unprotected sex.

On average, each of the players had had knee trouble for eight months before the cause was diagnosed by a blood test. With the average salary for a top-flight player at pounds 10,000 per week, they cost their clubs an average of nearly pounds 500,000 by - so to speak - playing away.

Now John King, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at the London Independent Hospital, said that the diagnosis of "sexually acquired reactive arthritis" (SARA) "goes through my mind whenever I see a footballer with a swollen knee."

He thinks that the problem is probably surprisingly common - even though it is one that has only just been identified. "A number of people may have had knee operations which were unnecessary," he commented.

The data emerged in a study by Paul Oyudo in a master's dissertation at Queen Mary and Westfield College (WMC) in London. It was followed up by Mr King, [NB NOT DR] who is president of the British Sports Doctors Association.

The QMC study looked at 10 sportsmen with persistent knee injuries which were traced to "sexually acquired reactive arthritis" (SARA). Six of the ten were footballers, and five of those in the Premiership. Five of the ten reported having had over 11 sexual partners by their mid-20s - twice as many as in the general population.

"The level of promiscuity among these sportsmen calls for concern," said Dr Oyudo, who carried out the QMC study, reported today in New Scientist magazine. "Footballers appear to be the greatestculprits."

The mechanism by which the bacteria lead to SARA is unclear, but probably follows an allergic reaction in the knee's tissues, said Mr King. "All you get is a sore, swollen knee. That's why athletes are more likely to notice it."

The study may have a dramatic effect on injury rates in the Premier League next year though. It is unlikely any married footballer will claim to have a knee injury unless there is film of him being kicked.

News
peoplePaper attempts to defend itself
Voices
voicesWe desperately need men to be feminists too
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits