Noisy knees may be an early sign of knee osteoarthritis

People who hear grating, cracking, or popping sounds in or around their knee joint may be at increased risk of developing knee osteoarthritis.

Garry Knight Photo Flickr

Penny Smith, EurekAlert! 04 May 2017

A new study using data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, a multi-center observational study of nearly 3500 participants, observed people who were at high risk for developing knee osteoarthritis. Among those who developed knee OA within a year, more than 75% had signs of osteoarthritis on radiographic images but no frequent knee pain at the start of the study.

The findings may be helpful for identifying individuals at risk for knee osteoarthritis, potentially assisting with earlier diagnosis and intervention.

“Many people who have signs of osteoarthritis on x-rays do not necessarily complain of pain, and there are no known strategies for preventing the development of pain in this group of people,” said Dr. Grace Lo, lead author of the Arthritis Care & Research study and an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “This study suggests that if these people have noisy knees, they are at higher risk for developing pain within the next year compared with the people who do not have noisy knees. Future studies that target people who have x-ray signs of osteoarthritis, and who do not complain of pain but do report noisy knees, hold the promise of identifying interventions that can prevent knee pain.”

Source EurekAlert! AAAS


Subjective Crepitus as a Risk Factor for Incident Symptomatic Knee Osteoarthritis: Data from the Osteoarthritis Initiative, Grace H. Lo MD MSc, Michael T. Strayhorn MPH, Jeffrey B. Driban PhD, Lori Lyn Price MAS, Charles B. Eaton MD MS, Timothy E. McAlindon MD MPH. Arthritis Care & Research, doi: 10.1002/acr.23246, published online 4 May 2017

  Further reading

Loss of anterior cruciate ligament integrity and the development of radiographic knee osteoarthritis: a sub-study of the osteoarthritis initiative, Johnson VL, Kwoh CK, Guermazi A, Roemer F, Boudreau RM, Fujii T, Hannon MJ, Hunter DJ. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Jun;23(6):882-7. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2015.02.001. Epub 2015 Feb 28.

The Effect of Widespread Pain on Knee Pain Worsening, Incident Knee Osteoarthritis (OA), and Incident Knee Pain: The Multicenter OA (MOST) Study, Carlesso LC, Niu J, Segal NA, Frey-Law LA, Lewis CE, Nevitt MC, Neogi T. J Rheumatol. 2017 Mar 1. pii: jrheum.160853. doi: 10.3899/jrheum.160853. [Epub ahead of print]

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