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BACKGROUND: Sport participants are at increased risk of joint pain and osteoarthritis. A better understanding of factors associated with joint pain and osteoarthritis in this population could inform the development of strategies to optimise their long-term joint health. The purpose of the study was to describe the prevalence of joint pain and osteoarthritis in former cricketers, and determine whether playing position, playing standard (i.e. elite or recreational standard) and length-of-play are associated with region-specific joint pain. METHODS: The data were from the Cricket Health and Wellbeing Study (CHWS), a cohort of 2294 current and former cricketers (played ≥1 season) in England and Wales. For this study, eligible individuals had to be aged ≥30 years and be a former cricket participant. Joint pain was defined as region-specific (hip/knee/ankle/shoulder/hand/back) pain on most days of the last month. Osteoarthritis was defined as joint-specific doctor-diagnosed osteoarthritis. Logistic regression was used to calculate unadjusted and adjusted (for history of joint injury resulting in > 4 weeks of reduced activity +/- age) odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (95% CIs). RESULTS: 846 individuals from the CHWS were former cricketers aged ≥30 years (3% female, aged median 62(IQR 54-69) years, 62% played cricket recreationally, median 33(IQR 21-41) cricket seasons). One-in-two (48%) reported joint pain and 38% had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Joint pain and OA were most common in the knee (23% pain, 22% osteoarthritis), followed by the back (14% pain, 10% osteoarthritis) and hand (12% pain, 6% osteoarthritis). After adjusting for injury, bowlers had greater odds of shoulder pain (OR (95% CI) 3.1(1.3, 7.4)) and back pain (3.6(1.8, 7.4)), and all-rounders had greater odds of knee (1.7(1.0, 2.7)) and back pain (2.1(1.0, 4.2)), compared to batters. Former elite cricketers had greater odds of hand pain (1.6(1.0, 2.5)) than former recreational cricketers. Playing standard was not related to pain at other sites, and length-of-play was not associated with joint pain in former cricketers. CONCLUSIONS: Every second former cricketer experienced joint pain on most days of the last month, and more than one in three had been diagnosed with osteoarthritis. Compared with batters, bowlers had higher odds of shoulder and back pain and all-rounders had higher odds of back and knee pain. Elite cricket participation was only related to higher odds of hand pain compared with recreational cricket participation.

Original publication




Journal article


Bmc musculoskelet disord

Publication Date





Ankle, Cricket, Hand, Hip, Knee, Recreational sport, Retired athletes, Shoulder, Spine, Aged, Arthralgia, Cricket Sport, Female, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Osteoarthritis, United Kingdom