(HealthDay News) – Musculoskeletal pain in the low back, hips, and the nonoperatively treated knee before total knee replacement is associated with poorer physical function at six months after surgery, according to a study published in the Oct. 16 issue of The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery.

David C. Ayers, MD, from the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, and colleagues examined the correlation of bilateral knee and hip pain and low back pain before primary unilateral total knee replacement with physical function at six months after surgery using data from a prospective cohort of 180 patients (61% women; mean age, 65.1 years).

The researchers found that patients with a greater number of preoperative locations of moderate to severe pain had a lower mean Short Form-36 (SF-36) physical component summary score at six months. Moderate to severe preoperative pain in the contralateral knee, ipsilateral and contralateral hip, and low back were all significantly associated with poorer function at six months after total knee replacement, after adjustment for age, sex, body mass index, and SF-36 mental component summary score.

“These data suggest that clinicians, policy makers, and researchers may choose to quantify the total burden of musculoskeletal pain in the knees, hips, and low back as they evaluate the likely impact of total knee replacement on postoperative physical function,” write the authors.

One or more of the authors disclosed financial ties to an entity in the biomedical arena.

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