Young women with knees of old ones

&to=http:// ' target=_blank>young women who injure their knees playing soccer appear to have a very high chance of developing a potentially disabling arthritis years later, a study suggests.

It is well known that girls who play soccer, basketball and similar sports are at risk for an injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), a tough band of tissue that holds the knee joint together. Blowing out an ACL can end a girl's sports career, but &to=http:// ' target=_blank>doctors also have suspected that the injury sets the stage for osteo-arthritis, a degenerative joint disease that typically strikes older people, wrote USA Today.

The study authors examined 103 female &to=http:// ' target=_blank>soccer players who had each suffered an injury to one of the ligaments in the knee - the anterior cruciate ligament.

This ligament, in the centre of the knee, provides stability to the joint. It can be damaged during activities such as football which involve twisting of the knee.

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