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Br J Rheumatol. 1998 Aug;37(8):870-3.

Knee pain and disability in the Nottingham community: association with poor health status and psychological distress.

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  • 1Rheumatology Unit, City Hospital, Nottingham.



To assess the prevalence of knee pain, disability and health status in the community, and to examine the association of pain with psychological distress.


A postal survey was sent to 4057 men and women aged 40-79 yr in Nottingham. Health status was assessed using the SF-36 instrument, with the specific dimensions of physical function and mental health used to measure disability and psychological distress.


The overall response rate was 81.9%. The prevalence of knee pain was 28.7%, rising with age. Disability was more common in those with knee pain compared to those without pain (P < 0.001). Subjects with knee pain had lower scores for all dimensions of health. When adjusted for potential confounders, low mental health scores associated with increased odds for pain and disability (2.1, 95% CI 1.7-2.6; and 4.7, 95% CI 3.7-6.1).


Knee pain is common in this population and is associated with poor perceived health and significant disability. Psychological distress strongly associates with both pain and disability.

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