Trajectories of functional decline in knee osteoarthritis: the Osteoarthritis Initiative

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Orthopedics and Physical Rehabilitation

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Document Type



Musculoskeletal Diseases | Orthopedics | Rheumatology


OBJECTIVE: To describe trajectories of functional decline over 84 months and study associated risk factors among adults initially without limitation who had or were at risk of knee OA.

METHODS: We used annual measures of WOMAC physical function over 84 months from the OA Initiative. We included knees with no functional limitation (i.e. WOMAC = 0) at baseline. Knee-based trajectories of functional decline from WOMAC were identified from a group-based trajectory model (PROC TRAJ).

RESULTS: We identified five trajectories from 2110 knees (1055 participants, age 61.0 +/- 9.3, BMI 27.1 +/- 4.4, 52% women). Half of the knees (54%) remained free of limitation over 84 months, 26% slowly declined to a WOMAC of 1.5, 9% were limitation free for the first 36 months and declined to a WOMAC of 11.3, 6% rapidly declined over the first 12 months and gradually recovered to a WOMAC of 3.3 and 5% steadily declined to a WOMAC of 13.2. Baseline radiographic disease, knee pain, obesity and depressive symptoms at baseline were associated with trajectories of worse functional decline.

CONCLUSION: Five per cent of our sample initially without limitation was on a trajectory of progressive functional decline over 84 months later. We found worse disease and health status at baseline to be associated with faster decline over time.

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Citation: Rheumatology (Oxford). 2016 May;55(5):801-8. doi: 10.1093/rheumatology/kev419. Epub 2015 Dec 24. Link to article on publisher's site

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knee osteoarthritis, physical function, trajectory

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Rheumatology (Oxford, England)

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