Contribution of central and peripheral risk factors to prevalence, incidence and progression of knee pain: a community-based cohort study

Aliya Sarmanova, Gwen Sascha Fernandes, H Richardson, A M Valdes, David Andrew Walsh, Weiya Zhang, Michael Doherty

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AIM: To explore risk factors that may influence knee pain (KP) through central or peripheral mechanisms.

METHODS: A questionnaire-based prospective community cohort study with KP defined as pain in or around a knee on most days for at least a month. Baseline prevalence, and one year incidence and progression (KP worsening) were examined. Central (e.g., Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS)) and peripheral (e.g., significant injury) risk factors were examined. Adjusted odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (CI) were calculated using logistic regression. Proportional risk contribution (PRC) was estimated using receiver-operator-characteristic (ROC) analysis.

RESULTS: Of 9506 baseline participants, 4288 (45%) had KP (men 1826; women, 2462). KP incidence was 12% (men 11%, women 13%), and KP progression 19% (men 16%, women 21%) at one year. While both central and peripheral factors contributed to prevalence, central factors contributed more to progression, and peripheral factors more to incidence of KP. For example, although PCS (OR 2.06, 95% CI 1.88-2.25) and injury (5.62, 4.92-6.42) associated with KP prevalence, PCS associated with progression (2.27, 1.83-2.83) but not incidence (1.14, 0.86-1.52), whereas injury more strongly associated with incidence (69.27, 24.15-198.7) than progression (2.52, 1.48-4.30). The PRC of central and peripheral factors were 19% and 23% for prevalence, 14% and 29% for incidence, and 29% and 5% for progression, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: Both central and peripheral risk factors influence KP but relative contributions may differ in terms of development (mainly peripheral) and progression (mainly central). Further study of such relative contributions may inform primary and secondary prevention strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1461-1473
Number of pages13
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number11
Early online date10 Aug 2018
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2018


  • Knee pain
  • Risk factors
  • Cohort
  • Incidence
  • Osteoarthritis

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