Walking Speed Is a Marker for Knee Osteoarthritis

Slower walking speed may signal poor knee joint health, increased incidence of knee osteoarthritis

TUESDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Slower walking speed may be a marker for identifying those at risk for knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to a study published online March 5 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Jama L. Purser, P.T., Ph.D., of the Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and associates conducted home interviews and a clinic evaluation of 1,858 North Carolina residents, aged 45 years or older, to determine if slower walking speed signaled the risk of hip or knee osteoarthritis.

The researchers found there was a consistent association between fast walking speed and reduced incidence of radiographic and symptomatic knee OA (adjusted odds ratio, 0.88 and 0.84, respectively). Slower walking speed correlated with increased incidence of knee OA across a wide range of clinical and radiographic OA outcomes.

"Given the consistency of our findings across the different subsamples, walking speed may be a marker of knee joint health," the authors write. "We recommend further research to confirm these findings and consideration of walking speed assessment during clinic visits as a means to help identify patients at greatest risk of developing OA, especially at the knee, and who may benefit from pharmaceutical and/or preventive interventions."

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