Identifying pain susceptibility phenotypes in knee osteoarthritis.
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Knee pain in osteoarthritis is complex and complicated by the fact that osteoarthritis is considered to be a disorder of multiple phenotypes. This complexity challenges our understanding as to why some people remain relatively symptom-free, while others progress to persistent pain. One approach to understanding the mechanisms underlying the transition to persistent pain is by identifying pain susceptibility phenotypes in people with or at risk of knee osteoarthritis. Using variables representative of the multidimensional nature of pain in people who were free of persistent pain, we identified four phenotypes characterised by low pressure pain thresholds and temporal summation and not psychosocial factors in those who developed persistent pain two years later. The group with the highest proportion of low pressure pain thresholds and a moderate proportion with facilitated temporal summation had twice the odds of developing persistent knee pain. This work provides preliminary insights into the critical importance of altered neurobiological mechanisms of pain signalling that contributes to development of chronic, persistent pain in knee osteoarthritis.
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