Laser range sensor-based timed up and go (laser-TUG) test can evaluate performance in TUG subtasks (sit-to-walk [STW], walking a short distance, and turning). This study aimed to test the hypothesis that weaker hip abductor muscle strength is more significantly associated with slowed turning speed than with the other TUG subtasks (STW and straight walking) after controlling for quadriceps muscle strength in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Community-dwelling participants with knee OA (Kellgren and Lawrence [K&L] grade ≥ 1; mean age, 68.6 years; 70.3% women) underwent laser-TUG. Spatiotemporal gait parameters in TUG and the TUG subtasks were evaluated as outcome measures. The isometric muscle strength of the hip abductor and quadriceps was measured using a hand-held dynamometer. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed to examine the relationship between muscle strength as an independent variable and spatiotemporal parameters as dependent variables. The relative importance of hip abductor muscle strength was determined using the percentages of unique variance. Participants with weaker hip abductor muscle strength demonstrated 0.094 m/s slower turning speed after adjustment for covariates including quadriceps muscle strength. The unique variance explained by hip abductor muscle strength in turning speed was 2.1%. However, no significant relationships were confirmed between weak hip abductor muscle strength and the time to perform TUG and the straight walking (forward and return) phase. These findings indicate that turning motion may be more sensitive to aggravated hip abductor muscle weakness and may show better response to hip muscle strengthening exercises. Longitudinal studies are warranted to elucidate this issue.
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