There is significant variability in the time course of self-reported knee pain in women with osteoarthritis (OA). Distinct baseline predictors for pain patterns may explain the heterogeneity.
In this community-based prospective study, Soni and colleagues analyzed data on self-reported knee pain at 4 time points over 12 years in patients from the Chingford Women's Study of OA and osteoporosis. Pain status—any pain in the preceding month and pain on most days in the preceding month-was used to classify patients according to an asymptomatic, persistent, incident, or intermittent pain pattern.
Among the patients who reported any pain in the preceding month versus those who reported pain on most days in the preceding month, 9% versus 2% had persistent pain, 24% versus 16% had incident pain, and 29% versus 18% had intermittent pain. A higher BMI was predictive of persistent pain and incident pain. The presence of radiographic knee OA was predictive of persistent pain; reported knee injury was predictive of both persistent pain and intermittent pain.
The authors noted that studying the long-term time course of pain has confirmed the presence of pain patterns, especially one of intermittent symptoms, that should be taken into account in planning treatment strategies.