Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence and participation of catastrophizing and fear to movement beliefs on present pain and disability in anterior knee pain patients.
Methods: A cross-sectional study on 97 patients with chronic anterior knee pain was performed in a secondary healthcare setting. Pain was measured with Visual Analogue Scale and disability with Lysholm Scale. The psychological variables anxiety, depression, pain coping strategies, catastrophizing and fear to movement beliefs were studied by using auto-administered questionnaires.
Results: Patients showed a high incidence of psychological distress (anxiety and depression), kinesiophobia and catastrophizing. A moderate correlation between pain and disability was found. Among all the coping strategies, only catastrophizing correlated with pain and disability. Anxiety depression and kinesiophobia also correlated with present pain and disability. In the regression model, catastrophizing and depression explained 56 % of the variance of disability and catastrophizing alone explained 37 % of present pain.
Conclusion: The moderate correlation between pain and disability suggests that pain per se is not able to explain all the variability of disability. Catastrophizing and kinesiophobia are shown to be predictors of present pain and disability in anterior knee pain patients. These findings support the fear avoidance model in the genesis and persistence of pain and disability in anterior knee pain patients and open the door to a biopsychosocial perspective in the management of these patients.
Level of evidence: III.