Osteoarthritis of the knee: association between clinical features and MR imaging findings

Radiology. 2006 Jun;239(3):811-7. doi: 10.1148/radiol.2393050253.


Purpose: To prospectively evaluate the association between clinical features and structural abnormalities found at magnetic resonance (MR) imaging in patients with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.

Materials and methods: The study was approved by the institutional medical ethics review board. Written informed consent was obtained from each patient. MR images of the knee were obtained from 205 (42 [20%] men, 163 [80%] women; median age, 60 years; range, 43-77 years) patients in whom symptomatic OA at multiple joint sites was diagnosed. MR images were analyzed for various abnormalities of OA. All patients were interviewed concerning pain and stiffness in the knee that was imaged. Odds ratios (ORs) with 99% confidence intervals (CIs) were used to determine the association between the imaging findings and clinical features of OA.

Results: A large joint effusion was associated with pain (OR, 9.99; 99% CI: 1.28, 149) and stiffness (OR, 4.67; 99% CI: 1.26, 26.1). The presence of an osteophyte in the patellofemoral compartment (OR, 2.25; 99% CI: 1.06, 4.77) was associated with pain. All other imaging findings, including focal or diffuse cartilaginous abnormalities, subchondral cysts, bone marrow edema, subluxation of the meniscus, meniscal tears, or Baker cysts, were not associated with symptoms.

Conclusion: Findings of this study indicate that only two associations exist between clinical symptoms and structural findings found on MR images in patients with OA of the knee.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Marrow Diseases / pathology
  • Cysts / pathology
  • Edema / pathology
  • Exostoses / pathology
  • Female
  • Femur / pathology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Menisci, Tibial / pathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / pathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patella / pathology
  • Popliteal Cyst / pathology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Synovial Fluid
  • Tibial Meniscus Injuries