Associations between sport participation and knee symptoms: A cross-sectional study involving 3053 undergraduate students

Lloyd L.Y. Chan, Arnold Y.L. Wong, Maggie H. Wang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: While a number of studies have investigated knee symptoms among elite athletes, few have directly compared the association between engagement in different sports and knee symptoms among young adults in the general population. The current study aimed to investigate the relation between sports participation hours, type/ number of sports engaged, self-rated competitiveness and knee symptoms among undergraduates. Methods: Undergraduates were invited to participate in a self-administered online survey through invitation emails. Respondents were instructed to provide demographic information (e.g., age, gender, sports participation hours, types of engaged sports, self-rated competitiveness in sports and anxiety level etc.) and to report knee symptoms (current, the last 7 days, the last 12 months, and lifetime). Multiple logistic regressions were conducted to investigate the association between sports participation and current knee symptoms. Results: Of 17,552 invitees, 3744 responded to the survey. Valid data from 3053 respondents was used for analysis. Forty-four percent of the respondents engaged in sports regularly (≥once per week). Running, cross-training and swimming were the most frequently participated sports among the respondents. The current prevalence rate of knee symptoms was 6.4%. Hours spent participating in combat sports, soccer, yoga, and basketball participation hours were significantly associated with current knee symptoms. Respondents who rated themselves as "competitive" demonstrated a higher risk of having current knee symptoms than "recreational" players. Number of engaged sports was not associated with current knee symptoms among undergraduates. Conclusions: Certain sports types were associated with current knee symptoms. Compared to self-rated "recreational" players, self-rated "competitive" players were more likely to have current knee symptoms. Students should take preventive measures to minimize their risk of developing knee symptoms, especially when participating in combat sports, soccer, yoga, and basketball, or engaging in sports at a highly competitive level.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20
JournalBMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 23 Mar 2020


  • Athletic injuries
  • Knee pain
  • Prevalence
  • Sports
  • Students
  • Youth sports injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation


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