Objective: To examine the association between self-reported knee pain and radiographic features of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.
Methods: A sample of participants in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging (452 Caucasian males and 223 Caucasian females) completed questionnaires and underwent a standing radiograph of both knees at the same biennial visit between 1984 and 1989. Radiographs were interpreted using both the Kellgren-Lawrence and individual features scales. Odds ratios were calculated for the association of radiographic features with knee pain after adjustment for age, sex, and body mass index.
Results: Overall, 156 (23%) persons reported ever having knee pain, and 104 (15%) reported current knee pain (within the previous year). Both ever knee pain and current knee pain were significantly associated with the presence of definite knee OA (Kellgren-Lawrence grade > or = 2) and with the presence of all individual features. There was a direct relationship between all measures of severity of radiographic OA and knee pain.
Conclusion: These data demonstrate that radiographic features of knee OA are significantly associated with knee pain. The data also support the continued use of the Kellgren-Lawrence grading scale for defining knee OA in population studies.