BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2018 19:354

Identifying individuals with chronic pain after knee replacement: a population-cohort, cluster-analysis of Oxford knee scores in 128,145 patients from the English National Health Service

Rafael Pinedo-Villanueva, Sara Khalid, Vikki Wylde, Rachael Gooberman-Hill, Anushka Soni and Andrew Judge


Approximately one in five patients undergoing knee replacement surgery experience chronic pain after their operation, which can negatively impact on their quality of life. In order to develop and evaluate interventions to improve the management of chronic post-surgical pain, we aimed to derive a cut-off point in the Oxford Knee Score pain subscale to identify patients with chronic pain following knee replacement, and to characterise these patients using self-reported outcomes.


Data from the English Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) programme were used. This comprised patient-reported data from 128,145 patients who underwent primary knee replacement surgery in England between 2012 and 2015. Cluster analysis was applied to derive a cut-off point on the pain subscale of the Oxford Knee Score.


A high-pain group was identified, described by a maximum of 14 points in the Oxford Knee Score pain subscale six months after surgery. The high-pain group, comprising 15% of the sample, was characterised by severe and frequent problems in all pain dimensions, particularly in pain severity, night pain and limping, as well as in all dimensions of health-related quality of life.


Patients with Oxford Knee Score pain subscale scores of 14 or less at six months after knee replacement can be considered to be in chronic pain that is likely to negatively affect their quality of life. This derived cut-off can be used for patient selection in research settings to design and assess interventions that support patients in their management of chronic post-surgical pain.

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