Can we predict risk of knee pain and painful osteoarthritis following knee joint injury?

Disease - Osteoarthritis, knee pain, sports injury

Lead applicant - Dr Fiona Watt

Organisation - University of Oxford

Type of grant - Research Award

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £239,671.51

Start date - 1 July 2017

Reference - 21509

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

Currently, we are not able to identify those at high risk of either pain or arthritis after knee injury, so this project aims to identify factors that predict knee pain or painful osteoarthritis in the 2 years following injury. This would ultimately allow for the development of a predictive tool that could be used in the clinic for more personalised treatment.

Why is this research important?

The most commonly affected joint by osteoarthritis is the knee, and the biggest risk factor for knee osteoarthritis is joint injury, including sporting injuries. An estimated 50% of those with a significant knee injury will develop painful osteoarthritis over 5-10 years, and many others will experience knee joint pain. However, we are currently unable to accurately predict which individuals will go on to experience this.

Current research shows that an immediate response to knee injury can predict pain over the next 3 months. The researchers will see if the markers of this response predict knee pain and painful osteoarthritis in the 2 years following injury by examining levels of these markers, reported pain levels and structural knee changes using x-ray and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

How will the findings benefit patients?

This research aims to further our ability to predict and test individual risk of osteoarthritis development, which will allow for better, personalised information for patients on their future risk. Furthermore, this research will help to improve our knowledge leading to the prevention of pain and osteoarthritis after injury. In the future, findings from this research and additional testing would enable the development of a test or predictive tool that allows prevention and early treatment of osteoarthritis.