At around age 40, individuals with osteoarthritis (OA) have significantly shorter mean walking distance compared with matched peers, which underscores the importance of an early clinical approach to OA, according to findings published in Arthritis Care & Research.

The cross-sectional study, which was part of the Musculoskeletal Pain in Ullensaker Study from a rural community in Norway, sought to compare 6-minute walking distance in a population-based OA cohort with that of matched peers from the general population and to explore the associations between walking ability and risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD) in the OA cohort.

A total of 500 participants between 40 and 80 years who self-reported OA and 235 age- and gender-matched controls from the general population were enrolled in the study. Among participants with OA, clinical examinations included classification according to American College of Rheumatology criteria, blood samples, and assessing arterial stiffness using pulse wave velocity. T-tests were used to measure group differences in 6-minute walking distance. Multivariate regression models were used to evaluate the link between walking ability and CVD risk in the OA cohort.


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According to age-stratified analyses, the largest mean difference in 6-minute walking distance was reported in the youngest age group (40 to 49 years). The distance walked by the OA group was significantly shorter than the distance walked by the reference group (women: 579.4 m vs 663.9 m, respectively; P <.001; men: 619.9 m vs 708.3 m, respectively; P =.001).

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Among patients in the OA cohort, the 6-minute walking distance was significantly associated with pulse wave velocity in adjusted analysis (P =.001), with a 100-meter longer walking distance corresponding to a 0.3 m/s reduction in arterial stiffness.

The investigators concluded that 6-minute walking distance among participants in the OA group was significantly associated with arterial stiffness and suggested that walking ability is important to the CVD risk profile in patients with OA.

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Reference

Joseph KL, Hagen KB, Tveter AT, Magnusson K, Provan SA, Dagfinrud H. Osteoarthritis-related walking disability and arterial stiffness-results from a cross-sectional study [published online July 5, 2018]. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). doi: 10.1002/acr.23697