Objective: To investigate in the general population the clinical impact of erosive OA in interphalangeal joints (IPJs) compared with symptomatic radiographic hand OA and inflammatory arthritis.
Methods: Standardized assessments with hand radiographs were performed in participants of two population-based cohorts in North Staffordshire with hand symptoms lasting ≥1 day in the past month. Erosive OA was defined as the presence of an eroded or remodelled phase in ≥1 IPJ using the Verbruggen-Veys method. Radiographic hand OA was defined as the presence of ≥1 IPJ/first carpometacarpal joint with a Kellgren-Lawrence score of ≥2. Diagnoses of inflammatory arthritis were based on medical records. Hand pain and disability were assessed with the Australian/Canadian Hand Osteoarthritis Index (AUSCAN). Linear regression analyses were used to compare clinical determinants between groups and calculate mean differences with 95% CIs, adjusted for age and sex.
Results: Of 1076 participants with hand symptoms [60% women, mean age 64.8 years (s.d. 8.3 years)]; 80 persons (7.4%) had erosive OA. The population prevalence of erosive OA in ≥1 IPJ was 2.4% (95% CI 1.8, 3.0). Persons with erosive OA reported more pain and disability than persons with symptomatic radiographic hand OA [adjusted mean difference 1.3 (95% CI 0.3, 2.3) and 2.3 (95% CI 0.4, 4.2), respectively]. Individuals with inflammatory arthritis (n = 44) reported more pain and disability than those with erosive OA [adjusted mean difference 1.7 (95% CI 0.05, 3.4) and 6.3 (95% CI 2.8, 9.9), respectively].
Conclusion: While erosive OA has a greater impact than symptomatic radiographic hand OA in the general population, it is not as severe in terms of hand pain and disability as inflammatory RA.
Keywords: erosions; function; hand osteoarthritis; inflammatory arthritis; pain.