A national centre based in Nottingham researching into the most common joint disease osteoarthritis has received a funding boost.
The Arthritis Research UK Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis has been awarded a further £2m from Arthritis Research UK to continue its research into improving the understanding of the effects of sport and exercise on joint health.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and is a long-term condition that can affect any joint – it affects more than eight million people in the UK.
It causes pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints which can lead to a lack of mobility and the ability to carry out day-to-day activities.
Ten per cent of the world’s population aged 60 years and older is estimated to have symptoms of osteoarthritis but little has been known about the triggers which lead to its development or how it could be prevented.
Professor Mark Batt, director of the Arthritis Research UK Centre, said: “Having learned a great deal about the impact of sport, exercise on joint and muscle health by working with athletes over the last five years, this funding will help us answer questions about preventing, treating and transforming the lives of people with osteoarthritis.
“The centre has established expert teams from a wide range of disciplines who have collaborated nationally and internationally to improve our understanding of the effects of exercise and injury on musculoskeletal health.
“Now we will be able to continue to expand our knowledge and develop the next generation of researchers in these fields, working with patients, communities and sports people.”
The first five years of centre funding (2013-17) focused primarily on research with elite sports including Olympic athletes, professional footballers, cricketers and rugby players.
The next five years’ research (2018-22) will build upon existing research findings to answer questions about ‘bodytypes’, intervention and the effects of sport on the quality of life of those affected.
Head of research liaison and evaluation at Arthritis Research UK Natalie Carter said: “Over the next five years, we hope this research will also help us to pinpoint links and uncover risk factors for osteoarthritis in the wider population.
“This in turn could lead to innovative ways to treat or prevent the condition, and improve the quality of life for people living with osteoarthritis.”