Osteoarthritis (OA) is more common in the knee compared to the ankle joint. This can not be explained exclusively by anatomical and biomechanical differences. The aim of this study is to analyze and compare the injury pattern (clinically) and the cartilage lesions (arthroscopically) of knee and ankle joints in a cohort of patients from the same catchment area. A retrospective study of the clinical data of 3122 patients (2139 outpatients and 983 inpatients) was performed, who were treated due to an injury of the knee and ankle joint. Statistical analysis was performed using SigmaStat 3.0 (SPSS Inc, Chicago, USA). There is a higher prevalence of injuries in the ankle as compared to the knee joint in this population from the same catchment area. In contrast, high-grade cartilage lesions are more prevalent in the knee, whereas low grade cartilage lesions are equally distributed between knee and ankle. From this data it can be concluded that the frequency of injuries and the injury pattern of knee versus ankle joints do not correlate with the severity of cartilage lesions and may therefore have no direct influence on the differential incidence of OA in those two joints.
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