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The influence of weather on the risk of pain exacerbation in patients with knee osteoarthritis – a case-crossover study

  • M.L. Ferreira
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence and reprint requests to: M.L. Ferreira, Department of Rheumatology, Royal North Shore Hospital, NSW 2065, Australia. Fax: 61 2 9463 1077.
    Affiliations
    Institute of Bone and Joint Research, The Kolling Institute, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

    The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
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  • Y. Zhang
    Affiliations
    Boston University School of Medicine, Clinical Epidemiology Research and Training Unit, Boston University, Boston, USA
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  • B. Metcalf
    Affiliations
    Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, Department of Physiotherapy, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
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  • J. Makovey
    Affiliations
    Institute of Bone and Joint Research, The Kolling Institute, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
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  • K.L. Bennell
    Affiliations
    Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine, Department of Physiotherapy, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
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  • L. March
    Affiliations
    Institute of Bone and Joint Research, The Kolling Institute, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
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  • D.J. Hunter
    Affiliations
    Institute of Bone and Joint Research, The Kolling Institute, Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

    Rheumatology Department, Royal North Shore Hospital, Sydney, Australia
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Published:August 01, 2016DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2016.07.016

      Summary

      Objective

      To quantify the risk of knee pain exacerbation associated with temperature, relative humidity, air pressure and precipitation in persons with knee osteoarthritis.

      Method

      A web-based case-crossover study was conducted. Participants with a diagnosis of symptomatic, radiographic knee osteoarthritis were measured at baseline and followed for 3 months. Participants were instructed to log on to the study website if they perceived experiencing knee pain exacerbation (hazard period). Pain exacerbation was defined as an increase of ≥2 on a 0–10 numeric rating scale (NRS) from the participant's mildest pain reported at baseline. A time-stratified case-crossover study was conducted to anchor the corresponding hazard date to four control periods within a particular 35-day interval. Data on maximum and minimum temperature (°C), relative humidity (%), barometric pressure (hPa) and precipitation (mm) were obtained for the hazard and control periods from the publicly available meteorological database of the Australian Bureau of Meteorology. The associations were assessed using conditional logistic regression.

      Results

      Of the 345 participants recruited, 171 participants (women: 64%, mean age: 62 years, mean BMI: 30.2 kg/m2) experienced at least one episode of pain exacerbation, yielding 1,425 observations included in the analyses. There was no apparent association between temperature, relative humidity, air pressure or precipitation and risk of knee pain exacerbation.

      Conclusion

      Despite anecdotal reports from patients, change in weather factors does not appear to influence the risk of pain exacerbation in persons with knee osteoarthritis. Additional studies should quantify the association of weather and risk of pain exacerbation in regions with more extreme weather conditions.

      Keywords

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