Step rate linked with knee cartilage damage in women
LIVERPOOL, England — Women with a lower baseline step rate were more likely than those with a higher step rate to experience cartilage damage worsening in the lateral patellofemoral and tibiofemoral joints at 2 years, according to findings presented here.
Harvi F. Hart, PhD, of LaTrobe University Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Center in Bundoora, Australia, presented findings. “Abnormal gait biomechanics can contribute to OA,” she said, but noted a difference between step rate and gait speed. “It is possible to change one without changing the other. You can take more steps per minute without changing gait speed.”
The patient population included individuals aged 50 to 79 years with, or at risk for, OA from the NIH-funded MOST cohort. The researchers assessed step rate at the 60-month study visit in 678 women and 411 men, with the aim of assessing cartilage damage worsening at 2 years. Step rates were divided into quartiles. The researchers adjusted for age, BMI, gait speed and previous knee injury or surgery.
Women with the lowest step rates carried twice the risk for cartilage damage worsening in the lateral patellofemoral joint, compared with women in the highest quartile, 10% vs. 5%. Similarly, in the lateral tibiofemoral joint, 8% of women in the lowest step rate quartile experienced cartilage damage worsening, compared with 5% of those in the highest quartile who experienced this outcome.
Also among women, Hart reported no association between step rate and cartilage damage worsening in the medial patellofemoral or medial tibiofemoral joints.
Among men, no associations were reported between step rate and cartilage damage worsening to the lateral or medial patellofemoral joints, or the lateral tibiofemoral joint. Men in the third step rate quartile had a significantly higher risk for damage to the medial tibiofemoral cartilage. “However, the relationship across step rate quartiles was inconsistent,” Hart said.
Hart concluded that women with lower step rates at baseline had greater risk for lateral patellofemoral and tibiofemoral cartilage damage worsening at 2 years. “As for the clinical implications of this study, step rate can be easily modified with exercise therapy, music or metronome.” – by Rob Volansky
Hart HF, et al. Abstract #16. Presented at: OARSI 2018 World Congress on Osteoarthritis; April 26-29; Liverpool, England.
Disclosure: Hart reports no relevant financial disclosures.