Presentation T O26

T O26 (Oral Presentation):
Does the physical work capacity of subjects with early osteoarthritis of hip and knee decline in five years?

Presented by: André Bieleman

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Bieleman HJ1, Stewart R2, Reneman MF2, Ittersum WM van3, Schans CP van der3, Oosterveld FGJ1

  1. Saxion Universities of Applied Sciences, Enschede, the Netherlands
  2. University Medical Centre, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands
  3. Hanze University of Applied Sciences, Groningen, the Netherlands



Osteoarthritis (OA) of hips and knees can have a severe impact on peoples daily activities. OA onset is usually after the age of 45 and an increase in prevalence is seen only after 60, but a possible impact in people of working age has been reported. Whether individuals can meet their physical job demands depends both on the physical work load and on the individual's work capacity. The objective of this study was to evaluate the 5-years course of physical work capacity of subjects with early OA of hip and/or knee. Physical capacities are generally considered to decline with age, but the authors did not find longitudinal studies on physical work capacity in the literature.


In a prospective cohort study (Cohort Hip and Cohort Knee) physical work capacity was measured at baseline, using a test protocol (Functional Capacity Evaluation – FCE) consisting of work-related physical activities. The physical load was increased stepwise until maximal performance was reached. Heart rate limits and a standardized observation scheme were applied to assess subjects' safety and performance level. Subjects were invited to participate in 1-, 2- and 5-year follow-up measurements. Data were analyzed with multilevel analysis and latent class analysis, in models with test performances as dependent variables and age, sex, work and time as independent variables.


The numbers of participants at baseline and after 1, 2 and 5 year were 94, 65, 57 and 34, respectively. Their mean (SD) age at baseline was 56 (4.9) years, 84% were females. There were no significant differences between test performances (lifting low and high, carrying, static overhead work, dynamic bending, repetitive side reaching) at the 4 measurements (p<0.05). Male sex and younger age were significant determinants of higher performance on most of the tests; having a paid job and progression of time were not. Classes of subjects were identified with different performance levels, but not with different courses over time.


The physical work capacity of the subjects did not change in 5 years. Selective drop-out and life-style changes may have effected this outcome, but physical capacity seems to be a stable characteristic. Regarding a sustainable working life these results underscore the opportunities for prevention.

Schedule Details

Tuesday September 30
15:45 - 17:30 Afternoon Concurrent Sessions (T O25 - T O38 and Seminar 6)
Session: Work Disability trajectories
Room B