Unravelling the knee-hip-spine trilemma from the CHECK study

Joost H.J. van Erp, Willem P. Gielis, Vahid Arbabi, Arthur de Gast, Harrie Weinans, Saeed Arbabi, F. Cumhur Öner, René M. Castelein, Tom P.C. Schlösser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


AIMS: The aetiologies of common degenerative spine, hip, and knee pathologies are still not completely understood. Mechanical theories have suggested that those diseases are related to sagittal pelvic morphology and spinopelvic-femoral dynamics. The link between the most widely used parameter for sagittal pelvic morphology, pelvic incidence (PI), and the onset of degenerative lumbar, hip, and knee pathologies has not been studied in a large-scale setting. METHODS: A total of 421 patients from the Cohort Hip and Cohort Knee (CHECK) database, a population-based observational cohort, with hip and knee complaints < 6 months, aged between 45 and 65 years old, and with lateral lumbar, hip, and knee radiographs available, were included. Sagittal spinopelvic parameters and pathologies (spondylolisthesis and degenerative disc disease (DDD)) were measured at eight-year follow-up and characteristics of hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA) at baseline and eight-year follow-up. Epidemiology of the degenerative disorders and clinical outcome scores (hip and knee pain and Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index) were compared between low PI (< 50°), normal PI (50° to 60°), and high PI (> 60°) using generalized estimating equations. RESULTS: Demographic details were not different between the different PI groups. L4 to L5 and L5 to S1 spondylolisthesis were more frequently present in subjects with high PI compared to low PI (L4 to L5, OR 3.717; p = 0.024 vs L5 to S1 OR 7.751; p = 0.001). L5 to S1 DDD occurred more in patients with low PI compared to high PI (OR 1.889; p = 0.010), whereas there were no differences in L4 to L5 DDD among individuals with a different PI. The incidence of hip OA was higher in participants with low PI compared to normal (OR 1.262; p = 0.414) or high PI (OR 1.337; p = 0.274), but not statistically different. The incidence of knee OA was higher in individuals with a high PI compared to low PI (OR 1.620; p = 0.034). CONCLUSION: High PI is a risk factor for development of spondylolisthesis and knee OA. Low pelvic incidence is related to DDD, and may be linked to OA of the hip. Level of Evidence: 1b Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2020;102-B(9):1261-1267.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1261-1267
JournalThe Bone & Joint Journal
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Degenerative diseases
  • Hip osteoarthritis
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Pelvic incidence
  • Sagittal pelvic morphology
  • Spondylolisthesis


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