Thigh Muscle Weakness Predicts Knee Osteoarthritis in Women Only

Key clinical point: Poor thigh muscle strength predicts knee osteoarthritis in women, but not in men.

Major finding: Weaker thigh muscle significantly increased the risk of incident knee osteoarthritis in women, but after adjusting for BMI the relationship lost significance.

Data source: Men and women (n = 161) with knee osteoarthritis and matched controls (n = 186) without osteoarthritis at baseline who were recruited from a multi-site longitudinal cohort.

Weakness in the lower thigh muscles is a stronger risk factor for knee osteoarthritis in women than in men, possibly because of the greater influence that high body mass index has on thigh muscle strength in women, according to new case-control study findings.

The findings, published online Feb. 8 in Arthritis Care & Research (doi: 10.1002/acr.23182), come from a study enrolling 161 patients with radiographic knee osteoarthritis and 186 controls without arthritis at baseline who were observed over a 4-year period in the ongoing multi-center Osteoarthritis Initiative cohort study. About 60% of patients and controls were women.

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