Clinical, Radiological and Ultrasonographic Findings Related to Knee Pain in Osteoarthritis

Keith K. W. CHAN, Regina W. S. SIT, Ricky W. K. WU, Allen H. Y. NGAI

PLoS, 2014, ONE 9(3): e92901

Background: Pain is the predominant symptom of knee osteoarthritis (OA) and the main reason of disability. Ultrasound is now one of the new imaging modality in Musculoskeletal medicine and its role in assessing the pain severity in the knee osteoarthritis is evaluated in this study.

Objectives: (1) To study the correlation between ultrasonographic (US) findings and pain score and (2) whether ultrasonographic findings show a better association of pain level than conventional X-rays in patients suffering from primary knee osteoarthritis.

Methods: In this multi-center study, 193 patients with primary knee OA were asked to score their average knee pain using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis (WOMAC) questionnaire;patients would then go for a radiological and an US evaluation of their painful knee. Findings from both imaging modalities will be studied with the associated pain score.

Results: Ultrasound showed that knee effusion has positive correlation with pain score upon walking (r = 0.217) and stair climbing (r = 0.194). Presence of suprapatellar synovitis had higher pain score on sitting (Spearman’s Rank correlation= 0.355). The medial(r = 0.170) and lateral meniscus protrusion (r = 0.201) were associated with pain score upon stair

Conclusions: Our study found that both imaging modalities shown some significant association with the aspect of pain;neither one is clearly better but rather complementary to each other. A trend is found in both modalities: walking pain is related to pathologies of the either the lateral or medial tibiofemoral joint(TFJ) while stair climbing pain is related to both tibiofemoral joint pathologies and also to the patellofemoral joint (PFJ) pathology. This suggested that biomechanical derangement is an important aspect in OA knee pain.