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Osteoarthritis Patterns of Joint Involvement

image showing osteoarthritis patterns of joint involvement Osteoarthritis (OA), the most common form of arthritis, can affect many different joints in the body, and may be silent (found on x-rays only) or symptomatic (causing symptoms like pain, aching, or stiffness on most days).  These investigators wondered if there might be a pattern (called phenotype) of which joints are affected. 

This study examined whether the patterns of symptomatic OA involving 4 joint sites (hands, knees, hips, and lumbosacral spine) might differ by race and sex.  In a sample of 1,650 participants in the Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project (age 45 and older; 36% men; 32% African American) analysts found that overall 11% had symptomatic hip OA, 13% had symptomatic hand OA, 25% had symptomatic knee OA, and 28% had symptomatic lumbosacral spine OA. 

When they examined patterns of multiple joint symptomatic OA, they found that women more often had hand involvement, men more often had lumbosacral spine involvement, African Americans more often had knee involvement, and Caucasians more often had hand involvement.  These differences may need to be considered when researchers are defining multijoint, or generalized, OA.


Nelson AE, Golightly YM, Renner JB, Schwartz TA, Kraus VB, Helmick CG, Jordan JM. Brief Report: Differences in multijoint symptomatic osteoarthritis phenotypes by race and sex:  The Johnston County Osteoarthritis Project.  Arthritis & Rheumatism 2013;65(2):373-377.  abstract

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