Understanding pain in osteoarthritis

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2008 Mar;90(3):280-7. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.90B3.20167.


The majority of patients with osteoarthritis present to orthopaedic surgeons seeking relief of pain and associated restoration of function. Although our understanding of the physiology of pain has improved greatly over the last 25 years there remain a number of unexplained pain-related observations in patients with osteoarthritis. The understanding of pain in osteoarthritis, its modulation and treatment is central to orthopaedic clinical practice and in this annotation we explore some of the current concepts applicable. We also introduce the concept of the 'phantom joint' as a cause for persistent pain after joint replacement.

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement
  • Humans
  • Nociceptors / physiology
  • Orthopedic Procedures
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis / psychology
  • Osteoarthritis / therapy
  • Pain / physiopathology*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Pain Management
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pain Threshold