Influence of Psychosocial, Sociodemographic Factors on Knee Osteoarthritis-Associated Pain

man with knee pain
man with knee pain
A set of psychosocial and sociodemographic factors may be associated with pain levels in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

A set of psychosocial and sociodemographic factors may be associated with pain levels in patients with knee osteoarthritis, according to a study published in PLoS One.

The study included 355 participants with knee osteoarthritis who were asked to report pain levels using a 0- to 10-point rating scale. Information regarding demographic characteristics, body mass index, concomitant disorders, illicit and prescription drug use, alcohol use, smoking, knee osteoarthritis treatment, and severity of knee osteoarthritis (assessed with the Kellgren-Lawrence radiographic grade) was collected. The researchers used univariate and multivariate analyses to evaluate correlations between these variables and reported pain scores.

A univariate analysis revealed an association between higher pain scores and Native American or Hispanic ethnicity; higher body mass index; current prescription for an opioid, antidepressant, or gabapentinoid medication; depression; diabetes mellitus; fibromyalgia; illicit drug use; lack of health insurance; smoking; previous knee injection; and recommendation by the clinician that the patient undergo knee surgery. Neither the patient’s sex nor the Kellgren-Lawrence grade was found to be correlated with pain scores.

After multivariate analysis, the results indicated that only depression, current opioid prescription, and Native American or Hispanic ethnicity retained a significant association with higher pain scores.

Related Articles

“Although clinicians cannot modify some of the factors associated with higher pain scores in our study, they can increase their insight into the possible causes of an observed discrepancy between a patient’s clinical appearance with respect to comfort and his or her pain score and perhaps mitigate the influence of factors that can be changed,” concluded the study authors. “Clinicians who are aware of the psychosocial and sociodemographic characteristics that affect their patients’ reports of osteoarthritis-related knee pain will thereby be able to provide more effective, patient-centered care,” they added.

Follow @ClinicalPainAdv


Eberly L, Richter D, Comerci G, et al. Psychosocial and demographic factors influencing pain scores of patients with knee osteoarthritis. PLoS One. 2018;13:e0195075.