Quadriceps rate of force development affects gait and function in people with knee osteoarthritis

Joshua D. Winters, Katherine S. Rudolph

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Objective: Quadriceps weakness exists in people with knee osteoarthritis (OA), but other muscle factors like rate of force development (RFD) may also be affected by knee OA. The purpose of this study was to determine if people with knee OA have deficits in quadriceps RFD, determine if quadriceps RFD would improve predicting knee joint power absorption and generation during free and fast walking, and determine if RFD would improve predicting functional outcomes. Methods: 26 subjects with knee OA and 23 healthy control subjects performed maximal voluntary isometric strength (MVIC) and RFD measures of the quadriceps. Subjects also underwent a 3-D motion analysis of both self-selected free and self-selected fast walking speeds. Joint kinetics were calculated from inverse dynamics. Results: RFD was not different by group (p = 0.763), however, the OA subjects generated the highest peak RFD at a lower % MVIC (p = 0.008). Controls walked significantly faster at both free and fast walking speeds (p = 0.001, p = 0.029). Knee angles at heel strike and peak knee extension were lower (p = 0.004, p = 0.027) in the OA group. During fast walking knee power generation was higher in controls (p = 0.028). MVIC and force of highest peak RFD predicted KOOS-ADL score in the OA subjects, but only MVIC predicted stair climbing time. Conclusions: The submaximal force at which peak RFD occurs plays a significant role in knee joint power as well as functional measures in the OA subjects, providing further evidence that factors other than maximal strength are also important in people with knee OA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-284
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Applied Physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments Grant support: NIH P20 RR016458, NIH S10RR022396, ACR-REF.


  • Activities of daily living
  • Function
  • Knee OA
  • Motor control
  • Muscle power
  • Rate of force production
  • Strength
  • Walking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Physiology (medical)


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