Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) plays an important role in the physiology of vasculature, blood pressure and inflammation. ACE gene, known to have insertion/deletion (I/D) polymorphism, has been widely investigated in its relation with cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and longevity. ACE gene polymorphism in an inflammation associated osteoarthritis (OA) patients is not known. Here we have investigated ACE gene polymorphism in 142 Korean primary knee OA patients and 135 healthy volunteers to establish any clinical correlates between ACE polymorphism and knee osteoarthritis. Clinical parameters such as disease onset age, Kellgren-Lawrence grade and Lequesne's functional index provided additional analysis of the relationship of ACE polymorphism and clinical features of OA. Early onset OA showed significantly higher allele frequency and carriage rate of I than late onset OA. Radiographically severe and functionally poor OA showed higher carriage rate of I allele than radiographically mild and functionally good OA, respectively. This study first reports ACE gene polymorphism to be a risk factor for early onset, severe form primary knee OA.