Functioning Without Cartilage: Older People With Radiographic Knee Osteoarthritis Who Self-Report No Functional Limitations Do Score Lower on a Performance Battery

in Journal of Aging and Physical Activity
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The majority of the older population shows signs of radiographic knee osteoarthritis. However, many remain without functional complaints for a long period. This study aims to find early functional changes associated with stages of radiographic knee osteoarthritis. A group of older people without self-reported complaints was divided in two groups: knee osteoarthritis (K&L = 2–4, N = 29) and control (K&L = 0–1, N = 31). Muscle function was assessed with voluntary and electrically-stimulated isometric knee contractions, including a fatigue test. Physical functioning was assessed with a 6-min walk test (6MWT), a stair climb test (SCT), and a short performance battery. There were no differences in muscle function parameters, 6MWT, and SCT between groups. A clinically relevant lower score on the performance battery was found in participants with knee osteoarthritis. In conclusion, even when older people indicate to have no functional limitations, a decline in functional outcome can be measured with a physical performance battery.

Van Leeuwen and de Ruiter are with the Department of Human Movement Sciences, Faculty of Behavioural and Movement Sciences, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Van Leeuwen is also with Fontys University of Applied Sciences, School of Allied Health Professions, Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Van de Bunt and Emanuel are with the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam Movement Sciences, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Van Schoor and Deeg are with the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, VU University Medical Center, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Address author correspondence to Kaj S. Emanuel at k.emanuel@vumc.nl.
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