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

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


Objective: 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.

Methods: 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.

Results: 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.

Conclusions: 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.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aging
  • Cohort Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Lifting
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / psychology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / psychology
  • Sickness Impact Profile
  • Work / physiology*
  • Work / psychology
  • Work Capacity Evaluation