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