European Geriatric Medicine

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 141–148 | Cite as

Sarcopenic osteoarthritis: a new entity in geriatric medicine?

  • Nicola Veronese
  • Leonardo Punzi
  • Cornel Sieber
  • Jurgen Bauer
  • Jean-Yves Reginster
  • Stefania Maggi
  • On behalf of the Task Finish Group on “Arthritis” of the European Geriatric Medicine Society



Osteoarthritis, a disease characterized by cartilage degradation, abnormal subchondral bone remodeling and some grade of inflammation, and sarcopenia, a condition of low muscle mass associated with reduced strength and function, are prevalent disorders in older adults. In this review, we examine what is known about the relationship between osteoarthritis and sarcopenia, with particular focus on the older population. We also discuss how osteoarthritis and sarcopenia may interact and affect each other in clinical progression and the potential benefits from developing treatments that address such muscular-skeletal interaction.


We searched in Pubmed and Scopus through a combination of search and MESH terms, for osteoarthritis and sarcopenia.


Even if more literature is needed, there is increasing evidence that decline in lower limb muscle strength is associated with knee or hip osteoarthritis in a pathological network of pain, altered joint stability, maladapted postures and defective neuromuscular communication. At the cellular levels, chondrocytes and myoblasts share common pathways, and the close anatomical location of both cell types also suggest the possibility of paracrine communication.


Sarcopenia and osteoarthritis are significantly intercorrelated and in the near future should be considered as an only entity, as we have recently proposed for sarcopenia and osteoporosis. The treatment of both sarcopenia and osteoarthritis is based on physical exercise and nutritional interventions with the aim of improving cartilage, bone and muscle health. Future studies are needed, particularly to know the exact prevalence of sarcopenia in people with osteoarthritis, its peculiar consequences and the most appropriate treatments.


Sarcopenia Osteoarthritis Physical performance Therapy 



We sincerely thank prof. Luigi Ferrucci, National Istitutes of Aging, Baltimore, MD, USA for his careful revision of this manuscript.


This work was not supported by any funding. This review is a product of the Task and Finish Group on “Arthritis” of the European Geriatric Medicine Society.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any financial arrangements, organizational affiliations or other relationships that might give rise to any conflict of interest regarding the subject matter of the manuscript submitted.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© European Geriatric Medicine Society 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicola Veronese
    • 1
  • Leonardo Punzi
    • 2
  • Cornel Sieber
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jurgen Bauer
    • 5
  • Jean-Yves Reginster
    • 6
  • Stefania Maggi
    • 1
  • On behalf of the Task Finish Group on “Arthritis” of the European Geriatric Medicine Society
  1. 1.National Research Council, Neuroscience Institute, Aging BranchPaduaItaly
  2. 2.Rheumatology Unit, Department of Medicine (DIMED)University of PadovaPaduaItaly
  3. 3.Institute for Biomedicine of Aging, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-NürnbergNurembergGermany
  4. 4.Krankenhaus Barmherzige Brüder RegensburgRegensburgGermany
  5. 5.Center for Geriatric Medicine, Agaplesion Bethanien Krankenhaus HeidelbergUniversity of HeidelbergHeidelbergGermany
  6. 6.Department of Public Health, Epidemiology and Health EconomicsUniversity of LiègeLiègeBelgium

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