Knee Osteoarthritis Pain Is Worse If Other Areas Hurt Too

More aches, pains in multiple areas -- especially back, foot, and elbow -- tied to worse knee pain

MONDAY, Nov. 22 (HealthDay News) -- Musculoskeletal comorbidities, particularly back, foot, and elbow pain, are associated with worse knee pain scores in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, according to research published online Aug. 26 in Arthritis Care & Research.

Pradeep Suri, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of 1,389 individuals aged 45 to 79 with symptomatic tibiofemoral knee osteoarthritis. The purpose of the study was to assess the association of concurrent low back pain (LBP) and other musculoskeletal pain with knee pain severity in osteoarthritis.

The researchers found that the knee pain severity score (possible range 0 to 20) was 6.5±4.1 in participants with LBP and 5.2±3.4 in participants without LBP. Including all pain locations simultaneously in the model, only LBP, ipsilateral elbow pain, and ipsilateral foot pain were significantly associated with knee pain score. Having multiple musculoskeletal pain locations was associated with greater knee pain scores, especially for individuals having at least four pain locations.

"Future studies are needed to determine whether treatment of musculoskeletal pain comorbidity may improve the outcomes of treatment for knee osteoarthritis," the authors write.

The Osteoarthritis Initiative is a public-private partnership comprising five contracts funded by the National Institutes of Health; private funding partners include Merck Research Laboratories, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, GlaxoSmithKline, and Pfizer Inc.

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