Thursday, November 17, 2011
In Sex Differences of Knee Osteoarthritis, Women Have More Pain, Less Function Despite Equal Physical Activity
The Advancing Womens Health Initiative applauds the best medical headline: Men are babies, reason number 4,832, published by Stone Hearth News in sharing findings from a study on sex differences in knee osteoarthritis.
The relevance of the study demonstrates that women continue to be as physically active as men prior to total knee replacement even though they have significantly more pain, greater pain sensitivity, poorer perceived function, and more impairment on specific functional tasks despite knee osteoarthritis (OA). This is significant given that knee OA affects a greater proportion of women than men. Results indicate that there are significant sex differences in pain intensity, pain sensitivity, and functional ability, but not on psychosocial measures or physical activity. Women had significantly worse pain and more impaired function than men. Yet, depression, anxiety, pain catastrophizing, and social support did not differ significantly between the sexes. Factors explaining differences in 1) pain during movement (during Gait Speed Test) were pain at rest, knee extension, anxiety, and pressure pain threshold; 2) function (Gait Speed Test) were sex, age, knee extension, knee flexion opioid medications, pain duration, pain catastrophizing, BMI, and heat pain threshold; and 3) physical activity. While only a provisional abstract is available at present, full publication of the study by SM Tonelli, BA Rakel, NA Cooper, W Angstrom, and KA Sluka is in process in the journal, Biology of Sex Differences.