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Knee. 2010 Oct;17(5):319-23. doi: 10.1016/j.knee.2009.10.005. Epub 2009 Nov 2.

Anterior knee pain and cold knees: a possible association in women.

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  • 1School of Public Health and Clinical Sciences, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, Lancashire, United Kingdom.


Abnormal reactions to environmental cold have been observed in some patients with Anterior Knee Pain (AKP). The aims of this study were to investigate whether palpation of the knee could classify patients into those with and those without cold knees; whether this classification could be objectively validated using thermal imaging; whether the cold and not cold knee groups varied in response to a cold stress test and in patient-reported measures. Fifty eight patients were recruited; palpation classified them into cold and not cold groups. Twenty-one (36%) patients were classified as having a cold knee by palpation: fourteen (36%) females and seven males (37%). Preliminary analysis suggested gender might be an effect modifier and the number of men was small, therefore the analysis focussed on females. Women with cold knees had a significantly smaller patellar skin fold, lower levels of activity and worse scores on the MFIQ, there also appeared to be an association with a traumatic onset. Women with cold knees were more likely to report cold weather affected their knees and they preferred a hot water bottle compared to an ice-pack on their knee; there was also a trend towards having to wear extra tights/long johns in the winter. This study has helped to define a clinical profile for a group of females with AKP and cold knees. This group appears to demonstrate a mild form of Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy.

Copyright 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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