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Int Arch Occup Environ Health. 2010 Dec;83(8):913-21. doi: 10.1007/s00420-010-0541-3. Epub 2010 May 21.

Functional capacity of people with early osteoarthritis: a comparison between subjects from the cohort hip and cohort knee (CHECK) and healthy ageing workers.

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Expertise Center Health, Social Care and Technology, Saxion University of Applied Sciences, P.O. Box 70.000, 7500 KB, Enschede, The Netherlands.



The prevalence of osteoarthritis (OA) increases, but the impact of the disorder on peoples' functional capacity is not known. Therefore, the objective of this study was to compare self-reported health status and functional capacity of subjects with early OA of hip and/or knee to reference data of healthy working subjects and to assess whether this capacity is sufficient to meet physical job demands.


Self-reported health status and functional capacity of 93 subjects from the Cohort Hip and Cohort Knee (CHECK) were measured using the Short-Form 36 Health Survey and 6 tests of the Work Well Systems Functional Capacity Evaluation. Results were compared with reference data from 275 healthy workers, using t-tests. To compare the functional capacity with job demands, the proportions of subjects with OA performing lower than the p(5) of reference data were calculated.


Compared to healthy workers, the subjects (mean age 56) from CHECK at baseline reported a significantly worse physical health status, whereas the women (n = 78) also reported a worse mental health status. On the FCE female OA subjects performed significantly lower than their healthy working counterparts on all 6 tests. Male OA subjects performed lower than male workers on 3 tests. A substantial proportion of women demonstrated functional capacities that could be considered insufficient to perform jobs with low physical demands.


Functional capacity and self-reported health of subjects with early OA of the hips and knees were worse compared to healthy ageing workers. A substantial proportion of female subjects did not meet physical job demands.

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