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Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2010 Oct;18(10):1244-9. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2010.05.014. Epub 2010 Jul 13.

The association of osteoarthritis risk factors with localized, regional and diffuse knee pain.

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Department of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, United States.



To identify determinants of different patterns of knee pain with a focus on risk factors for knee osteoarthritis (OA).


The Knee Pain Map is an interviewer-administered assessment that asks subjects to characterize their knee pain as localized, regional, or diffuse. A total of 2677 participants from the Osteoarthritis Initiative were studied. We used multinomial logistic regression to examine the relationship between risk factors for OA and knee pain patterns. We examined the bivariate and multivariate relationships of knee pain pattern with age, body mass index (BMI), sex, race, family history of total joint replacement, knee injury, knee surgery, and hand OA.


We compared 2462 knees with pain to 1805 knees without pain. In the bivariate analysis, age, sex, BMI, injury, surgery, and hand OA were associated with at least one pain pattern. In the multivariate model, all of these variables remained significantly associated with at least one pattern. When compared to knees without pain, higher BMI, injury, and surgery were associated with all patterns. BMI had its strongest association with diffuse pain. Older age was less likely to be associated with localized pain while female sex was associated with regional pain.


We have shown that specific OA risk factors are associated with different knee pain patterns. Better understanding of the relationship between OA risk factors and knee pain patterns may help to characterize the heterogeneous subsets of knee OA.

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