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Meniscal damage and the development of persistent knee pain
Date:11/28/2007

Two fibro-cartilaginous crescents, the menisci serve as cushions against joint cartilage degradation where the knee connects with the shin and thigh bones. Loss of meniscal function is recognized as a strong risk factor for knee osteoarthritis (OA). In the United States, about 6 percent of the over 30 through middle-age population and between 11 and 15 percent of senior citizens, age 65 and up, suffer from knee OA in form of frequent knee pain, aching, or stiffness. The prevalence of this routinely aggravating, often disabling condition is increasing. Associated with the toll of aging and obesity, as well as sports injuries, tears to the menisci are a common finding on magnetic resonance images, especially in the OA knee. However, whether meniscal damage foreshadows the development of knee pain in middle aged or elderly or directly causes it remains unknown.

Toward their goal of improving the early detection of knee OA, researchers with the Multicenter Osteoarthritis (MOST) Study set out to evaluate the effect of meniscal damage on the development of knee pain, aching, or stiffness in middle-aged and older adults. Based on their findings, featured in the December 2007 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis), meniscal damage does often not directly provoke knee symptoms. Any association between meniscal damage and frequent knee pain seems to be present because both pain and meniscal damage are related to OA, notes study spokesperson Dr. Martin Englund of Boston University School of Medicine, and not because of a direct link between the two.

Researchers began by focusing on 3,026 individuals between the ages of 50 and 79, who either had signs of knee OA or
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Contact: Amy Molnar
amolnar@wiley.com
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

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