The test/retest reliability of physical performance measures in osteoarthritis patients

Author(s): Frances C Humby, Alison J Hughes and Ali S M Jawad

Objectives: There is limited data examining the reliability and consistency of objective measures of osteoarthritis (OA) function. Therefore the aim of this study was to assess their test/retest reliability.

Methods: 21 postmenopausal women over the age of 50 diagnosed with bilateral knee OA were recruited from a single centre. Endpoints assessed included time to walk 20 m, 40 m, ascend and descend 11 stairs, pain scores, standard WOMAC questionnaires and range of motion of the knee with assessments repeated at a follow up visit.

Results: Time to walk 20 m, 40 m, and climb and descend stairs and total WOMAC scores between the two visits was highly reliable. There was no reliability for the range of motion of the knee.

Conclusions: The high degree of reliability for the endpoints of walking and stair climbing within patients and across visits supports the use of these as outcome measures within clinical trials of OA.