OBJECTIVE--To determine the association between joint complaints and locomotor disability. METHODS--During a home interview survey 1901 men and 3135 women aged 55 years and over (the Rotterdam Study) were asked about joint pain and morning stiffness in the past month, and locomotor disability was assessed by six questions from the Health Assessment Questionnaire (HAQ). RESULTS--The prevalence of locomotor disability was 24.5% for men and 40.5% for women. The prevalence of joint pain in men was 0.7% for pain in the hips, knees, and feet simultaneously, 3.7% for pain at two joint sites, 16.0% for pain at one joint site, and 20.4% for pain in the hips and/or knees and/or feet (any joint site); the corresponding estimates for women were 1.9%, 9.0%, 23.7%, and 34.5%, respectively. The prevalence of generalised morning stiffness was 4.9% for men and 10.4% for women. The age adjusted odds ratios for locomotor disability in men ranged from 2.4 of pain at one joint site to 8.8 of pain at all three joint sites; for women these odds ratios varied between 2.5 and 5.7, respectively. The age adjusted odds ratios of generalised morning stiffness were 8.0 for men and 7.3 for women. CONCLUSION--There is a strong and independent association between locomotor disability and age, joint pain, and generalised morning stiffness in people aged 55 years and over. The odds for locomotor disability increase onefold for every year increase in age, while the presence of generalised morning stiffness is of greater influence than the presence of joint pain.
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