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Foot and ankle pain and risk of incident knee osteoarthritis and knee pain: Data from the Multicentre Osteoarthritis Study.



To examine whether foot and/or ankle pain increases the risk of knee OA.


We utilised longitudinal data from the Multicentre Osteoarthritis Study (MOST); a community-based cohort of risk factors for knee OA. Participants without frequent knee pain (clinic visit only) and radiographic knee OA (RKOA) at baseline and, with no evidence of inflammatory musculoskeletal disease and a history of knee-related surgery were followed for up to 84-months for incident outcomes; i) RKOA (Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) ≥2), ii) symptomatic RKOA (RKOA and frequent pain in the same knee) and iii) frequent knee pain only. At baseline, ankle and foot symptoms were assessed, with knee radiographs and symptoms also assessed at 30, 60 and 84-months. Our exposures included baseline ankle, foot, and ankle and foot pain (participant-level). Associations between foot and/or ankle pain and incident outcomes were assessed using multiple logistic regression, with adjustment for participant characteristics and ankle/foot pain.


No statistically significant associations were observed between ankle, foot and, ankle and foot pain and incident RKOA, respectively. Ankle pain with (2.30, 95% CI 1.13 to 4.66) and without foot pain (OR: 2.53, 95% CI 1.34 to 4.80) were associated with increased odds of incident symptomatic RKOA and frequent knee pain. No statistically significant associations were observed between foot pain and these outcomes.


Ankle pain should be a focus point, more so than foot pain, in the management of knee OA. Future studies should include additional ankle joint-specific symptom questions to better elucidate the knee OA biomechanical pathway.

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