Short-term pain trajectories in patients with knee osteoarthritis

Inoshi Atukorala*, Aron Downie, Arunasalam Pathmeswaran, Leticia Miranda Alle Deveza, Thashi Chang, Yuqing Zhang, David John Hunter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: It is unknown if pain in knee osteoarthritis (KOA) follows distinct patterns over the short term. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify whether persons with a previous history of KOA pain fluctuations have distinct trajectories of pain over 90 days and to examine associations between baseline characteristics and pain trajectories. 

Method: People with a previous history of KOA were selected from a web-based longitudinal study. Baseline variables were sex, age, being obese/overweight, years of KOA, knee injury, knee buckling, satisfactory Lubben Social Support Score, pain and stress scales, Intermittent Constant Osteoarthritis Pain Score (ICOAP), medication use, and physical activity. Participants completed a Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcomes Score (KOOS) pain subscale (KOOS-p, rated 0 = extreme to 100 = no knee problems) at 10-day intervals for 90 days. Short-term KOOS-p trajectories were identified using latent growth mixture modeling and the baseline risk factors for these pain trajectories were examined. 

Results: Participants (n = 313) had a mean age of 62.2 (SD ± 8.1) years and and a body mass index of 29.8 (SD ± 6.6) kg/m2. The three-class latent growth mixture modeling quadratic model with best fit indices was chosen (based on lowest sample-size-adjusted Bayesian Information Criterion, high probability of belonging, interpretability). Three distinct pain trajectory clusters (over 90 days) were identified: low-moderate pain at baseline with large improvement (n = 11), minimal change in pain over 90 days (n = 248), and moderate-high pain with worsening (n = 46). Higher ICOAP (intermittent scale), perceived stress, negative affect score, and knee buckling at baseline were associated with a worse knee pain trajectory (P < 0.05). 

Conclusions: Persons with KOA showed unique short-term pain trajectories over 90 days, with distinct characteristics at baseline associated with each trajectory.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-294
Number of pages14
JournalInternational Journal of Rheumatic Diseases
Issue number3
Early online date25 Jan 2022
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022


  • knee joint osteoarthritis pain
  • short-term pain
  • trajectory


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