It appears that knee pain of some kind is a common complaint in middle-aged and mature women, with varying possible causes leading to varying types of pain. A new study on knee-pain patterns assessed periodically over 12 years in a representative UK population finds that nearly two-thirds (63%) of women aged 50 and over experience knee pain at least once, persistently, or intermittently over such a period.
The authors found these patterns were more likely in women with higher BMI, with a previous knee injury, or whose scans showed they had osteoarthritis (OA). They write about their findings in the 19 December online issue of the journal Arthritis & Rheumatism.
Senior author Dr Nigel Arden, a Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Oxford in the UK, told the media that this was the first study involving community-based participants that investigates patterns of knee pain using “multiple assessment points” over a period of 12 years:
“Understanding the prevalence and predictors of knee pain is the first step in developing comprehensive pain assessment plans that could lead to more targeted treatment options for those burdened by OA.”
For their analysis, Arden and colleagues used data gathered in the Chingford Study, a prospective population-based study of OA and osteoporosis established in 1989. This started with more than 1,000 women aged from 44 to 57 (median 52) years.
The cohort is described as representative of women in the UK in general in terms of height, weight, and smoking status. At four times over the 12 years of the study, the participants completed questionnaires about their knee pain.
The results showed that:
44% of women reported experiencing “any days of pain”.
23% reported experiencing “pain on most days of the previous month”.
Of those experiencing “any pain”, 9% had persistent pain, 24% had incident pain, and 29% had intermittent pain.
Of those experiencing “pain on most days”, these figures were 2%, 16% and 18% respectively.
A higher BMI predicted persistent and incident patterns of pain, while radiographic OA predicted persistent pain…HEALTH IS WEALTH.


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