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Total knee replacement surgery is a last-resort treatment for people whose osteoarthritis can no longer be managed through other approaches.
Although reduced physical function is a key decider for whether surgery is the right treatment, there is currently no clinically standardized way to measure physical function in individuals with knee osteoarthritis. A team of researchers at UHN's Krembil Research Institute compared and contrasted two ways that are often used to assess function: a physical test and a self-reported questionnaire.
published in PloS ONE, revealed that self-reported physical function scores in younger individuals tended to be worse compared to performance-based scores. In older adults, self-reported and performance-based scores were more consistent.
"An osteoarthritis diagnosis can be perceived as untimely and upsetting for middle-aged adults (45 to 65 years of age), particularly as they tend to be more engaged in activities such as working and activities with young children," explains Krembil scientist Dr. Anthony Perruccio, who led the study with then graduate student Jessica Wilfong.
"These perceptions and experiences of disruption to normal activities may be expressed by worse self-reported function relative to measured physical function."
Disagreement between self-reported and performance-based scores was also found in individuals with more intense knee pain. Additionally, discordance, depending on sex and obesity, was associated with:
"Our research shows that self-reported and performance-based measures provide distinctive and complementary information that lend to a holistic understanding of a patient's physical functionality and how it impacts their life," says Dr. Perruccio.
This work was supported by the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation through the UHN Arthritis Program.