Objective: To assess the associations between pain, loss of function, and radiographic changes in knee osteoarthritis (OA), taking into account both the patellofemoral and tibiofemoral compartments.
Methods: Both knees of 167 community-based patients with OA in at least 1 of their knees were assessed. Pain was measured by visual analog scale, and function was assessed using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index. Anteroposterior standing radiographs with the knee in extension and lateral 30 degrees flexion were obtained and assessed for the Kellgren/Lawrence score and for individual features (osteophytes, joint space narrowing, and subchondral bone sclerosis) in each compartment.
Results: Knees with structural changes in both compartments were more likely to be painful and to be associated with loss of function than were knees in which only 1 compartment was affected. The individual feature most strongly associated with pain was subchondral bone sclerosis.
Conclusion: Studies exploring the associations between structural and symptomatic knee OA need to include an assessment of the patellofemoral compartment, and individual radiographic features rather than a global severity score should be considered in these studies.