HealthDay News — Knee pain and functional impairments in elderly individuals are associated with the development of depressive symptoms, according to a study published online in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Keiko Sugai, MD, PhD, from Keio University School of Medicine in Tokyo, and colleagues performed a community-based prospective cohort study to examine the association between knee pain and function and depressive symptoms in 573 Japanese adults aged 65 and older without depressive symptoms at baseline.

The researchers found that over 2 years of follow-up, 11.9% of participants developed depressive symptoms.

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Pain and functional impairment were associated with depressive symptom development. The factors most strongly associated with development of depressive symptoms included pain at night while in bed (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 2.6) difficulty putting on socks (aOR, 3.7), difficulty getting into and out of a car (aOR, 3.4), and difficulty taking off socks (aOR, 3.1).

“Examining elderly people’s responses to questions about pain at night and difficulties performing daily activities may be an efficient way of identifying those at high risk of developing depressive symptoms,” the authors write.

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Sugai K, Takeda-Imai F, Michikawa T, Nakamura T, Takebayashi T, Nishiwaki Y. Association between knee pain, impaired function, and development of depressive symptoms [published online February 14, 2018]. J Am Geriatr Soc. doi: 10.1111/jgs.15259