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ACR: Differing Limb Lengths Increases Arthritis Risk

Knee osteoarthritis risk nearly doubled

MONDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Having limbs that differ in length by at least 2 centimeters nearly doubles the risk of having knee osteoarthritis, according to study findings presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual scientific meeting in Washington, DC.

Joanne M. Jordan, M.D., M.P.H., from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues studied 3,166 patients, of whom 1,785 had hip or knee osteoarthritis and 210 (6.4 percent) had limb length inequality.

The researchers found that significantly more individuals with differing limb lengths had right hip osteoarthritis, or left or right knee osteoarthritis. Limb length inequality was not associated with radiographic severity, although patients with more severe left hip osteoarthritis were more likely to have differing limb lengths. In those with differing limb lengths, the prevalence of osteoarthritis did not differ between limbs. Overall, limb length inequality was significantly associated with knee osteoarthritis (odds ratio 1.74) and, to a lesser extent, hip osteoarthritis (OR, 1.22).

"Limb length inequality was significantly associated with both hip and knee osteoarthritis, but the relationship was stronger for knee osteoarthritis," Jordan and colleagues conclude.

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