Osteoarthritis and Frailty in Elderly Individuals Across Six European Countries

Results From the European Project on OSteoArthritis (EPOSA)

Maria Victoria Castell; Suzan van der Pas; Angel Otero; Paola Siviero; Elaine Dennison; Michael Denkinger; Nancy Pedersen; Mercedes Sanchez-Martinez; Rocio Queipo; Natasja van Schoor; Sabina Zambon; Mark Edwards; Richard Peter; Laura Schaap; Dorly Deeg


BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2015;16(359) 

In This Article


The prevalence of both OA and frailty/pre-frailty in European countries is high, involving nearly one-third and two-thirds of the elderly, respectively. Clinical OA is strongly associated with frailty and pre-frailty in older adults. Although the association exists with OA at any site, it is stronger with increasing number of joints involved and when the affected joint is the hip. Thus, the key is to implement preventive and therapeutic measures in older persons with OA, especially early detection of frailty and the promotion of physical exercise in all individuals and of fat weight loss in obese individuals.

Significance and Innovations

  • OA and frailty are highly prevalent in the elderly population in Europe, with an estimated frequency that ranges between 19.7 % in Germany and 42.3 % in Italy for OA and between 5.6 % in Germany and Sweden and 15.4 % in UK for frailty.

  • The odds of frailty is 2.96 (95 % CI:2.11–4.16) and pre-frailty 1.54 (95 % CI:1.24–1.91) as high among OA individuals than those without OA. The association remains when OA of the knee, hip and hand joints are considered separately, and is stronger in those with increasing number of joints involved.

  • This association might be considered when designing appropriate intervention strategies for OA management.