The prevalence of foot pain and association with baseline characteristics in people participating in education and supervised exercise for knee or hip osteoarthritis: a cross-sectional study of 26,003 participants from the GLA:D® registry

J Foot Ankle Res. 2023 Nov 23;16(1):83. doi: 10.1186/s13047-023-00673-5.


Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) affecting the knee or hip is highly prevalent in the general population and has associated high disease burden. Early identification of modifiable risk factors that prevent, limit, or resolve disease symptoms is critical. Foot pain may represent a potentially modifiable factor however little is known about the prevalence of foot pain in people with knee or hip OA nor whether foot pain is associated with clinical characteristics. The main aim of this study was therefore to determine the prevalence of foot pain in people with knee or hip OA attending an education and supervised exercise-based intervention in Denmark (GLA:D®) and determine if baseline demographic or clinical characteristics are associated with foot pain.

Methods: Analysis was conducted on baseline data of 26,003 people with symptomatic knee or hip OA completing a pain mannequin as part of the Good Life with osteoArthritis in Denmark (GLA:D®) primary care programme. Odds Ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were calculated to estimate the strength of association between baseline clinical characteristics (including pain severity in worst knee/hip joint, number of painful knee/hip joints, pain medication use and physical activity level) and the presence of baseline foot pain.

Results: Twelve percent of participants (n = 3,049) reported foot pain. In those people with index knee OA (n = 19,391), knee pain severity (OR 1.01 CI 1.00, 1.01), number of painful knee/hip joints (OR 1.67 CI 1.58, 1.79), and use of pain medication (OR 1.23 CI 1.12, 1.36) were statistically associated with foot pain. Excluding use of pain medication, similar associations were seen in those with index hip OA.

Conclusion: Twelve percent of people with knee or hip OA participating in GLA:D® had foot pain. Those with worse knee/hip pain, and greater number of painful joints were more likely to report foot pain. This study is the first to demonstrate a significant relationship between clinical characteristics and foot pain in people with knee or hip OA participating in education and supervised exercise. Future investigation should consider the role that foot pain may play on knee and hip related outcomes following therapeutic intervention.

Keywords: Cross-sectional; Foot; Hip; Knee; Osteoarthritis; Pain.

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia / epidemiology
  • Arthralgia / etiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Exercise
  • Exercise Therapy / adverse effects
  • Foot Diseases* / complications
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip* / complications
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip* / therapy
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / complications
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / epidemiology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee* / therapy
  • Pain / epidemiology
  • Pain / etiology
  • Prevalence
  • Registries