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Foot and Ankle Osteoarthritis in ex-professional footballers compared to the general population

Project fact file

Dr Gwen Fernandes, Professors Mark Batt, Weiya Zhang and Michael Doherty
School / Division
Division of Rheumatology, Orthopaedics and Dermatology
Foot and ankle osteoarthritis professional football lower limb Pain
Fee band
Low-cost research
Date posted
November 2017

Project description

Osteoarthritis (OA) is by far the most common form of arthritis. It is a common complex disorder with genetic, constitutional and environmental risk factors. In footballers, injury to the ankle accounts for a third of all football injuries with half of these preventing participation in training and competition resulting in a considerable personal, team and socioeconomic costs.  However, the foot and the ankle are the least studied joints affected by OA.

The research team at the University of Nottingham have successfully undertaken research into the prevalence and risk factors for knee OA in retired professional footballers compared to a general population sample. As a result, we have worked with two large population samples (over 1200 male ex-professional footballers and 4000 general population men) that have been well characterised in terms of general health including quality of life and body pain. This provides an excellent opportunity to expand these two cohorts and undertake a study of foot and ankle osteoarthritis among retired professional footballers.

The project aims to examine and define the prevalence of self-reported foot and ankle pain and OA in footballers and general population men. We would invite a random sample of ex footballers and control men (irrespective of foot pain status) for ankle and foot x-rays at their nearest SPIRE hospital (footballers) or the City Hospital Nottingham (controls).

This project will work in tandem with a second project on neurodegenerative diseases in ex-professional footballers and men in the general population. The recruited PhD candidates will work together in the design of data collection instruments, validation of methods and data acquisition.

A standard PhD training package will be provided including literature review, study design, data collection, validation, analysis and writing up of the thesis. Additional training will be provided according to individual needs. 

The successful applicant will be jointly supervised by Dr Gwen Fernandes (Research Fellow), Professor Mark Batt (Professor of Sports and Exercise Medicine), Professor Weiya Zhang (Professor of Epidemiology), and Professor Michael Doherty (Professor of Rheumatology), and will work in the team including clinicians, nurses, academics and other PhD students. 

School of Medicine

University of Nottingham
Medical School
Nottingham, NG7 2UH

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