Age-related quadriceps-dominant muscle atrophy and incident radiographic knee osteoarthritis

J Orthop Sci. 2005;10(2):121-6. doi: 10.1007/s00776-004-0876-2.


Muscle atrophy is common in the elderly. However, the etiologic role of muscle atrophy associated with osteoarthritis of the knee has not been studied in detail. We assessed the association between age-related muscle atrophy around the knee joint and incident radiographic osteoarthritis of the knee. Twenty-one women in their thirties and 17 women in their sixties participated. They had no history, symptoms, or objective findings of any knee problems, and none of the participants was limited in performing daily activities. Radiographs of the knee joint were graded for the presence of osteoarthritis, and the cross-sectional imaging around the knee joint was carried out using computed tomography. Incident radiographic osteoarthritis was observed in 6 of the 17 women in their sixties. Quadriceps-dominant muscle atrophy was marked in the elderly women with radiographic osteoarthritis. In a multivariate analysis, the risk of incident radiographic osteoarthritis of the knee was significantly increased among women with a higher hamstrings/quadriceps cross-sectional area ratio. The results suggest the possibility that age-related quadriceps-dominant muscle atrophy may play a role in the pathogenesis of osteoarthritis of the knee.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Atrophy / complications
  • Muscular Atrophy / diagnostic imaging*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / complications
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / diagnostic imaging*
  • Quadriceps Muscle*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed