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Pre-Radiographic OA May Affect Half of Knee Pain Sufferers

Age, sports activity, effusion significantly associated with pre-radiographic osteoarthritis

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 29 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly half of knee pain sufferers have evidence of pre-radiographic osteoarthritis (pre-ROA), with 38 percent having evidence of ROA, according to a report published in the December issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Jolanda Cibere, M.D., Ph.D., of the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada in Vancouver, and colleagues assessed 255 subjects with knee pain, aged 40 to 79 years, for pre-ROA and ROA, and evaluated the clinical variables associated with the disease. Participants were assessed for pain, knee symptoms, osteoarthritis risk factors, sports activity, and other related factors. The participants also underwent magnetic resonance imaging and were given magnetic resonance cartilage (MRC) scores (range, 0 to 4) and Kellgren/Lawrence (K/L) scale grades (range, 0 to 4) as no OA (MRC score <2, K/L grade <2), pre-ROA (MRC score ≥2, K/L grade <2), and ROA (MRC score ≥2, K/L grade ≥2).

The investigators found that 49 percent had pre-ROA. They found ROA in 38 percent and no OA in 13 percent. Incidence of pre-ROA versus no OA increased with age, sports activity, effusion, and flexion contracture, and decreased with valgus malalignment. ROA versus no OA was significantly associated with age, body mass index, pain frequency, pain duration, severe knee injury, sports activity, gait, effusion, bony swelling, crepitus, flexion contracture, and flexion.

"If the prevention of knee OA is to succeed, early recognition and diagnosis may be critical. Therefore, in people with knee pain, the identification of specific signs or symptoms that are associated with OA, especially early-stage disease, would be clinically valuable because it would allow for the targeting of earlier intervention," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

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