Functioning without cartilage: Older people with radiographic knee osteoarthritis who self-report no functional limitations do score lower on a performance battery

Daniël M. Van Leeuwen, Fabian Van De Bunt, Cornelis J. De Ruiter, Natasja M. Van Schoor, Dorly J.H. Deeg, Kaj S. Emanuel*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-575
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2017

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