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Jennifer M. Hootman, Shannon FitzGerald, Carol A. Macera and Steven N. Blair

Purpose:

The purpose of this study was to investigate the gender-specific longitudinal association between quadriceps strength and self-reported, physician-diagnosed hip or knee osteoarthritis (OA).

Methods:

Subjects were 3081 community-dwelling adults who were free of OA, joint symptoms and injuries, completed a maximum treadmill exercise test, had isokinetic knee extension and flexion and isotonic leg press strength measurements taken at baseline and returned at least one written follow-up survey. Multivariate logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals.

Results:

Women with moderate or high isokinetic quadriceps strength had a significantly reduced risk (55% to 64%) of hip or knee OA. A similar, nonsignificant trend was noted among men. Moderate isotonic leg press strength was protective for hip or knee osteoarthritis among men only.

Conclusions:

These results suggest that quadriceps weakness is an independent and modifiable risk factor for lower extremity OA, particularly among women.