Answer Man

A successful knee surgery doesn’t mean you’ll be good as new

Q: We constantly hear about athletes having knee surgery but returning to play seemingly as good as new. Being the mother of three kids who play soccer and football, I’m wondering if there are any lasting repercussions.

C.M., of Breese

A: Dr. Mininder Kocher, a Harvard Medical School professor, recently told the New York Times that it was “like a dirty little secret”: His soon-to-be-released study found that even teens and young adults who tear a tendon or ligament in their knees have a better than 50 percent chance of developing “significant” arthritis in that joint within 10 years.

That means the number of athletes reaching for their bottles of aspirin, Advil or stronger pain meds likely will be soaring in the future. Kocher found that in 2004, about 500 operations to repair torn anterior cruciate ligaments were performed on adolescents at the 26 hospitals he surveyed. In 2014, that number had climbed to more than 2,500.

“It’s not that anyone is covering up,” he told the Times. “It’s just that it’s not well-known.”

Today’s trivia

What is the leading killer of children under 5 years old around the world?

Answer to Wednesday’s trivia: If I asked you to paint a picture about surfing, you’d probably turn on some Beach Boys music as you created your masterpiece about bare-chested men and bikinied women enjoying the waves and toasty sun in Hawaii. You obviously haven’t been to Narragansett, R.I., which will host the 50th annual New England Mid-Winter Surfing Championships next Feb. 17 at the town beach. There, wearing thick neoprene wetsuits, hoods, gloves and booties, surfers will brave the freezing conditions to compete for such honors as riding the “Hottest Wave of the Contest.” It calls itself the oldest mid-winter surfing contest in the world.

Roger Schlueter: 618-239-2465, @RogerAnswer