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Knee noise and arthritis

 •  • by Paul Ingraham

Weekly nuggets of pain science news and insight, usually 100-300 words, with the occasional longer post. The blog is the “director’s commentary” on the core content of PainScience.com: a library of major articles and books about common painful problems and popular treatments. See the blog archives or updates for the whole site.

Are noisy knees a risk factor for arthritic knee pain? A new study says so:

In those without symptomatic osteoarthritis, subjective knee crepitus [noise] predicts incident symptomatic osteoarthritis longitudinally, with most cases occurring in those with preexisting tibiofemoral radiographic osteoarthritis but without frequent knee pain.

That was fairly jargon heavy, so here’s a translation:

In people who have no symptoms of knee arthritis, a combination of x-ray evidence of arthritis and noisy knees predicts the development of symptoms in time.

This contradicts what I’ve been saying for years. One study won’t overturn that, but I probably do need to get more agnostic about it…after many years of “faith” that crepitus is uninterpretable — a point I have made au nauseum around PainScience.com.