Knee alignment does not predict incident osteoarthritis: The Framingham osteoarthritis study
Version of Record online: 28 MAR 2007
Copyright © 2007 by the American College of Rheumatology
Arthritis & Rheumatism
Volume 56, Issue 4, pages 1212–1218, April 2007
How to Cite
Hunter, D. J., Niu, J., Felson, D. T., Harvey, W. F., Gross, K. D., McCree, P., Aliabadi, P., Sack, B. and Zhang, Y. (2007), Knee alignment does not predict incident osteoarthritis: The Framingham osteoarthritis study. Arthritis & Rheumatism, 56: 1212–1218. doi: 10.1002/art.22508
- Issue online: 28 MAR 2007
- Version of Record online: 28 MAR 2007
- Manuscript Accepted: 4 JAN 2007
- Manuscript Received: 14 JUN 2006
- NIH. Grant Numbers: AG-18393, AR-47785
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Framingham Heart Study. Grant Number: N01-HC-25195
To examine the relationship of knee malalignment to the occurrence of knee osteoarthritis (OA) among subjects without radiographic OA at baseline to determine whether malalignment is a risk factor for incident disease or simply a marker of increasing disease severity.
We selected 110 incident tibiofemoral (TF) OA case knees (76 subjects) and 356 random control knees (178 subjects) from among participants in the Framingham Osteoarthritis Study. Case knees did not have OA at baseline (1992–1994 examination) but had developed OA (Kellgren/Lawrence grade ≥2) at followup (2002–2005 examination) (mean of 8.75 years between examinations). Control knees did not have OA at baseline. Standardized digital radiographs of the fully extended knee with weight-bearing were read using a standard protocol and eFilm viewing software. We measured the anatomic axis, the condylar angle, the tibial plateau angle, and the condylar tibial plateau angle. The interobserver intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC) ranged from 0.93 to 0.96 and the intraobserver ICC from 0.94 to 0.97. In a knee-specific analysis, we examined the relationship of each alignment measurement to the risk of TF OA using generalized estimating equations, adjusting for age, sex, and body mass index (BMI). We used the same approach to assess the association between each alignment measurement and the risk of medial TF OA.
Subjects in the case population were older and had a higher BMI than the controls. The alignment values were normally distributed and were not different between the cases and the controls. After adjustment for age, sex and BMI, there was no significant increase in incident OA in the highest quartile compared with the lowest quartile category for any of the alignment measures (P for trend for anatomic axis and condylar tibial plateau angle was 0.83 and 0.80, respectively). Similar results were also observed for medial compartment OA.
We found that baseline knee alignment is not associated with either incident radiographic TF OA or medial TF OA. These results suggest that malalignment is not a risk factor for OA, but rather is a marker of disease severity and/or its progression.