Objective: To test the hypothesis that dynamic load at baseline can predict radiographic disease progression in patients with medial compartment knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Methods: During 1991–93 baseline data were collected by assessment of pain, radiography, and gait analysis in 106 patients referred to hospital with medial compartment knee OA. At the six year follow up, 74 patients were again examined to assess radiographic changes. Radiographic disease progression was defined as more than one grade narrowing of minimum joint space of the medial compartment.
Results: In the 32 patients showing disease progression, pain was more severe and adduction moment was higher at baseline than in those without disease progression (n=42). Joint space narrowing of the medial compartment during the six year period correlated significantly with the adduction moment at entry. Adduction moment correlated significantly with mechanical axis (varus alignment) and negatively with joint space width and pain score. Logistic regression analysis showed that the risk of progression of knee OA increased 6.46 times with a 1% increase in adduction moment.
Conclusions: The results suggest that the baseline adduction moment of the knee, which reflects the dynamic load on the medial compartment, can predict radiographic OA progression at the six year follow up in patients with medial compartment knee OA.