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NDORMS research into the link between sporting activity and bone development in young people featured on BBC Radio 4's Inside Health this week.

Finding the link between football and arthritis

The research led by Professor Siôn Glyn-Jones is investigating the impact of football on bone growth with Southampton Football Club young players and pupils from local schools. 

Detailed mechanical and imaging studies of these young players' hips will help to show exactly when hip injury first appears, what causes it and how to prevent it.

Comparing hip development in elite footballers with the general population will allow the NDORMS team to explore the effects of sporting activity during youth as well as understand the factors that influence hip development, potentially leading to strategies for the prevention of hip pain and arthritis.

Trauma and Orthopaedic Registrar Antony Palmer, who is involved in the research, said: "Exercise is important to keep you fit and healthy.

"Some individuals find their level of activity becomes limited by early onset hip pain and joint damage. This usually relates to hip shape and abnormal contact between the ball and socket.

"Early research suggests that activity levels during skeletal growth may determine adult hip shape. Indeed, professional footballers have a different hip shape to the majority of the population.

"To explore the effects of sporting activity during youth our research group is comparing hip development in elite footballers from Southampton Football Club with the general population.

"Understanding factors that influence hip development may lead to strategies for the prevention of hip pain and arthritis.

The study receives support from the Arthritis Research UK Centre of Excellence in Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis at NDORMS and the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.