Characteristics of pain in knee osteoarthritis
as presented at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR)

For a study presented at ACR, held in November in Boston, investigators at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor and colleagues examined how individuals with knee osteoarthritis experience pain flares and their impact on daily living.

Forty-five participants (64 years; 55% female) with knee osteoarthritis underwent a baseline clinic visit as part of a larger pharmaceutical trial. At this visit, participants were trained in procedures to collect data using a wrist-worn accelerometer in a seven-day home monitoring period. They were also asked to provide information at the end of each day in a logbook. Participants were asked to provide a definition of a pain flare and used that definition to indicate in the logbook if they experienced a pain flare that day and what they were doing when it occurred.

When asked to define “pain flare,” descriptors of “sharp” and “increase in pain” were used by 30% and 21% of the sample, respectively. Other descriptors included “intense/severe,” “electrical,” and various descriptors (e.g., “twinge,” “stabbing,” “pulsation”). Pain flares were most often described to be of short duration. During the home monitoring period, 77% of the sample experienced at least one pain flare; the mean was 2.2 flares.

Regarding what they were doing when a pain flare occurred, participants most often mentioned activity-related causes (stair climbing, walking, shopping), while very few mentioned stiffness due to inactivity or being awakened by night pain. Pain flares were not significantly associated with pain variability or with neuropathic pain.

“Pain flares occurred frequently over a week for people with osteoarthritis, were of short duration, and were most often experienced during activities,” the researchers concluded.

The first indication of osteoarthritis is pain in the knees when using the stairs. This is the outcome of a British study published in «Arthritis Care & Research». With these results, physicians hope to be able to make an earlier diagnosis.

Researchers at the University of Leeds analysed data from 4,673 persons with osteoarthritis or who are at high risk of developing the disease. Over a period of seven years, the participants were asked to fill out annual questionnaires on pain occurring during diverse activities.

The study demonstrated that using stairs was the first activity during which the subjects noticed pain. This was followed by pain during walking, standing, lying or sitting and finally when resting in bed.

«At present we have little concept of ‘early’ osteoarthritis and often only see people when they have significant longstanding pain and loss of function», said study leader Philip Conaghan. «Knowing this will help us intervene earlier, perhaps leading to more effective ways of treating this very painful condition.»

If you feel pain when using stairs, you should ask your doctor. Perhaps Osteoarthtitis is coming…