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Springerplus. 2013 Nov 23;2:628. doi: 10.1186/2193-1801-2-628. eCollection 2013.

Clinical characteristics of pain originating from intra-articular structures of the knee joint in patients with medial knee osteoarthritis.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Kochi Medical School, Kochi University, Kohasu, Oko-cho, Nankoku, Kochi, 783-8505 Japan.



Although disease progression of osteoarthritis has been well documented, pain pathophysiology is largely unknown. This study was designed with two purposes: 1) to characterize patients with knee pain predominantly originating from intra-articular structures and 2) to describe the location and pattern of their pain.


103 patients with medial knee osteoarthritis underwent an intra-articular injection of local anesthetics (joint block). At least 70% pain relief was defined as positive for the joint block, while less than 50% as negative. Pain characteristics in patients positive for joint block were evaluated in detail using a knee pain map.


Sixty three knees (61%) were positive and 33 knees (32%) were negative. Patients negative for the joint block were significantly higher age, suffered for longer time, and complained more diffuse pain. Although pain at anterior medial area during walk was the most common finding, pain characteristics differed among different knee areas.


The characteristics of joint pain are widely variable even in patients with similar radiological features. Extra-articular sources are not negligible especially in older patients with a long history of diffuse pain. Differences in pain characteristics among knee areas should be taken into account when examining the pain source.


Knee; Osteoarthritis; Pain

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