Acta Orthopaedica, 86:5, 586-593, DOI: 10.3109/17453674.2015.1044389

Diabetes is associated with persistent pain after hip and knee replacement

Tuomas J Rajamäki, Esa Jämsen, Pia A Puolakka, Pasi I Nevalainen & Teemu Moilanen
Hip Knee

Background and purpose — In some patients, for unknown reasons pain persists after joint replacement, especially in the knee. We determined the prevalence of persistent pain following primary hip or knee replacement and its association with disorders of glucose metabolism, metabolic syndrome (MetS), and obesity.

Patients and methods — The incidence of pain in the operated joint was surveyed 1–2 years after primary hip replacement (74 patients (4 bilateral)) or primary knee replacement (119 patients (19 bilateral)) in 193 osteoarthritis patients who had participated in a prospective study on perioperative hyperglycemia. Of the 155 patients who completed the survey, 21 had undergone further joint replacement surgery during the follow-up and were excluded, leaving 134 patients for analysis. Persistent pain was defined as daily pain in the operated joint that had lasted over 3 months. Factors associated with persistent pain were evaluated using binary logistic regression with adjustment for age, sex, and operated joint.

Results — 49 of the134 patients (37%) had a painful joint and 18 of them (14%) had persistent pain. A greater proportion of knee patients than hip patients had a painful joint (46% vs. 24%; p = 0.01) and persistent pain (20% vs. 4%; p = 0.007). Previously diagnosed diabetes was strongly associated with persistent pain (5/19 vs. 13/115 in those without; adjusted OR = 8, 95% CI: 2–38) whereas MetS and obesity were not. However, severely obese patients (BMI ≥ 35) had a painful joint (but not persistent pain) more often than patients with BMI < 30 (14/21 vs. 18/71; adjusted OR = 5, 95% CI: 2–15).

Interpretation — Previously diagnosed diabetes is a risk factor for persistent pain in the operated joint 1–2 years after primary hip or knee replacement.

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