Objective: To assess whether foot and/or ankle symptoms are associated with an increased risk of worsening of knee pain and radiographic change in people with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Methods: The presence and laterality of foot/ankle symptoms were recorded at baseline in 1368 participants from the Osteoarthritis Initiative (OAI) with symptomatic radiographic knee OA. Knee pain severity (measured using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index pain subscale) and minimum medial tibiofemoral joint space (minJSW) width measured on X-ray were assessed yearly over the subsequent 4 years. Associations between foot/ankle symptoms and worsening of (1) knee pain, and (2) both knee pain and minJSW (i.e., symptomatic radiographic knee OA) were assessed using logistic regression. Results: Foot/ankle symptoms in either foot/ankle significantly increased the odds of knee pain worsening (adjusted OR 1.54, 95% CI 1.25 to 1.91). Laterality analysis showed ipsilateral (adjusted OR 1.50, 95% CI 1.07 to 2.10), contralateral (adjusted OR 1.44, 95% CI 1.02 to 2.06) and bilateral foot/ankle symptoms (adjusted OR 1.61, 95% CI 1.22 to 2.13) were all associated with knee pain worsening in the follow up period. There was no association between foot/ankle symptoms and worsening of symptomatic radiographic knee OA. Conclusion: The presence of foot/ankle symptoms in people with symptomatic radiographic knee OA was associated with increased risk of knee pain worsening, but not worsening of symptomatic radiographic knee OA, over the subsequent 4 years. Future studies should investigate whether treatment of foot/ankle symptoms reduces the risk of knee pain worsening in people with knee OA.
- Knee osteoarthritis