Signatures of knee osteoarthritis in women in the temporal and fractal dynamics of human gait

Joris Vangeneugden, Loek Verlaan*, Pieter Oomen, Wai-Yan Liu, Marloes Peters, Nicole Natour, Pieter Emans, Kenneth Meijer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Background: Osteoarthritis of the knee is characterized by progressive cartilage deterioration causing pain and function loss. Symptoms develop late with limited disease-modifying opportunities. Osteoarthritis is a major cause of immobility, with a higher prevalence above 60 years. This age-related increase in prevalence is further amplified by the female gender. Imaging and biochemical analyses for detection of osteoarthritis of the knee are expensive and labor-intensive. Continuous movement tracking could aid in detecting onset and/or worsening of symptoms.

Methods: We used portable technology to investigate kinematic differences in female patients with knee osteoarthritis, weight-matched healthy female volunteers and obese female patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Knee osteoarthritis was established radiographically and corroborated using magnetic resonance imaging.

Findings: The total amount, type and level of activity did not differ significantly between groups. The temporal activity pattern during the day was however significantly different with a bimodal signature in healthy volunteers only. Sequence analyses revealed more time to recuperate after dynamic activity in both patient groups. Analysis of walking bouts revealed significant differences in stride interval dynamics, indicative of gait naturalness, only in healthy volunteers. Temporal activity, sequence and walking patterns were independent of body weight.

Interpretation: We thus provide for the first-time evidence of temporal specific kinematic signatures in amount and quality of movement also in stride interval dynamics between people with and without osteoarthritis of the knee independent of body weight. These findings could allow early and non-intrusive diagnosis of osteoarthritis enabling concordant treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105016
Number of pages8
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2020


  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Obesity
  • Accelerometry
  • Activity pattern

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