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Prev Med. 2003 May;36(5):636-44.

Influence of physical activity-related joint stress on the risk of self-reported hip/knee osteoarthritis: a new method to quantify physical activity.

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Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA.



The relationship between physical activity (PA) and the development of hip/knee osteoarthritis (OA) has not been clearly defined. The purpose of this study was to develop a method to quantify PA-related joint stress and to assess its influence on the risk of hip/knee OA.


Participants in a large longitudinal study, without knee/hip OA (n = 5284), were asked about their PA participation in 1986. PA-related joint stress was calculated using information on the frequency, intensity, and duration of individual types of PA, and incorporated a quantification of joint stress. Self-reported, physician-diagnosed hip/knee OA was ascertained by survey in 1990, 1995, and 1999 (average length of follow-up: 12.8 years).


The joint stress PA score was not associated with an increased risk of hip/knee OA. Also, among walkers and runners there was no association between the frequency, pace, or weekly training mileage and hip/knee OA. Older age, previous joint injury and surgery, and higher body mass index were confirmed as independent risk factors for hip/knee OA.


Participation in PA as an adult does not increase the risk of hip/knee OA and there does not seem to be a threshold of increasing risk with increased training among walkers and runners.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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