About 13 percent of women and 10 percent of men over 60 have knee pain as a result of osteoarthritis (OA). Knee pain from OA can make it harder to take care of yourself, lesson the amount of exercise you get, and can impact your overall quality of life. As a result, this can lead to depression, according to a new study.
Researchers from Japan published a new study, “The Association of Knee Pain and Impaired Function with the Development of Depressive Symptoms ” in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society where they examined the effects of knee pain on depression. Until now, few studies have focused on how knee pain and impaired knee function relate to depression.
To study the relationship between knee pain and depression, the researchers examined information from 573 people (260 men and 313 women) aged 65 or older who participated in the Kurabuchi Study, which is an ongoing look at the health of older adults living in central Japan.
When the study began (between 2005 and 2006) none of the participants had symptoms of depression. Two years later, nearly all participants completed follow-up interviews. The participants answered questions about their knee pain and were evaluated for symptoms of depression.
Nearly 12 percent of the participants had, indeed, developed symptoms of depression.
People who experienced knee pain at night while in bed, while putting on socks, or while getting in or out of a car were more likely to report having symptoms of depression, noted the researchers.
The researchers concluded that asking older adults with knee pain whether they have pain at night in bed, when putting on socks, or while getting in or out of a car could be useful for helping to screen people at risk for developing depression.
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic disease with no cure, and is common in middle‐aged and elderly people. It causes degeneration and destruction of articular cartilage and surrounding joint structures, which often limits daily living activities. The global prevalence of symptomatic knee OA is reported to be approximately 13% in women and 10% in men aged 60 and older.
While OA is incurable, there are treatments available to help manage symptoms. According to the Arthritis Foundation, long term management of the disease includes:
- Managing pain, stiffness and swelling
- Improving joint mobility and flexibility
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Getting enough exercise.
And given the results of this study, perhaps maintaining good mental health should be added to the list.