To evaluate the acoustic emissions (AE) and kinematic instability (KI) of the osteoarthritic (OA) knee joints, and to compare these signals to radiographic findings. Sixty-six female and 43 male participants aged 44–67 were recruited. On radiography, joint-space narrowing, osteophytes and Kellgren–Lawrence (KL) grade were evaluated. Based on radiography, 54 subjects (the study group) were diagnosed with radiographic OA (KL-grade ≥ 2) while the remaining 55 subjects (KL-grade < 2) formed the control group. AE and KI were recorded with a custom-made prototype and compared with radiographic findings using area-under-curve (AUC) and independent T-test. Predictive logistic regression models were constructed using leave-one-out cross validation. In females, the parameters reflecting consistency of the AE patterns during specific tasks, KI, BMI and age had a significant statistical difference between the OA and control groups (p = 0.001–0.036). The selected AE signals, KI, age and BMI were used to construct a predictive model for radiographic OA with AUC of 90.3% (95% CI 83.5–97.2%) which showed a statistical improvement of the reference model based on age and BMI, with AUC of 84.2% (95% CI 74.8–93.6%). In males, the predictive model failed to improve the reference model. AE and KI provide complementary information to detect radiographic knee OA in females.
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