Knee Pain in Osteoarthritis Associated With Long-Term Prefrailty, Frailty

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Over 6 years of follow-up, prefrailty and frailty were diagnosed in the presence of <3 or >3 frailty indicators, respectively.
Over 6 years of follow-up, prefrailty and frailty were diagnosed in the presence of <3 or >3 frailty indicators, respectively.

Unilateral and bilateral knee pain may be associated with development of prefrailty and frailty over 6 years, according to the results of a recent study published in Pain Medicine.

To evaluate the association between knee pain and frailty over time, nonfrail participants (age 45 to 79) from the Osteoarthritis Initiative were categorized as having no knee pain (n=1600), unilateral knee pain (n=822), or bilateral knee pain (n=631), based on self-reporting.Over 6 years of follow-up, prefrailty and frailty were diagnosed in the presence of <3 or >3 frailty indicators, respectively. The study included 5 frailty indicators: unintentional weight loss, exhaustion, weak energy, slow gait speed, and little physical activity.

In logistic regression analyses adjusted for levels of knee pain and time, unilateral knee pain at baseline was associated with an increased risk for prefrailty (odds ratio [OR], 1.16; P =.025) and frailty diagnoses (OR, 1.90; P =.001), compared with no knee pain at baseline.

After adjustment for levels of knee pain, time, age, sex, race, education, marital status, smoking status, comorbidity, and body mass index, knee pain at baseline remained significantly associated with both prefrailty (OR, 1.14; P =.022) and frailty (OR, 1.89; P <.001).

Bilateral knee pain at baseline was associated with an increased risk for prefrailty (OR, 1.41; P <.001) and frailty development (OR, 2.21; P <.001) over time after adjustment for multiple variables. The researchers reported that there was no significant association between knee pain status at various time points and frailty status over time.

In conclusion, the investigators explained that "health care systems should develop effective interventions directed toward these two common geriatric conditions [knee pain and frailty], both for prevention and treatment purposes."

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Reference

Bindawas SM, Vennu V, Stubbs B. Longitudinal relationship between knee pain status and incident frailty: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative [published online December 1, 2017]. Pain Med. doi:10.1093/pm/pnx296

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