Pain catastrophizing is associated with increased physical disability in patients with anterior knee pain

Publication Date


Journal Title

J Orthop


© 2020 Introduction: The traditional nociceptive approach to pain identifies the mind and body as functionally separate. However, the biopsychosocial model accounts for the impact of social, psychological and physical factors on the patient experience. The purpose of this study was to determine the relationship between diagnosis, physical disability, and psychological distress among patients with anterior knee pain-one of the most common complaints in an orthopedic clinic. Methods: This was a single-center, cross-sectional study. Patients presenting for initial evaluation of knee pain completed the Pain Catastrophizing Scale, Kujala Anterior Knee Pain Scale, and SF-12 questionnaires. Statistical analysis was performed using SPSS Version 24. Results: 207 patients, 108 (52.2%) females and 99 (47.8%) males, with a mean age 44.5 ± 15.4 years were enrolled. The osteoarthritis cohort had the highest pain catastrophizing score (17 ± 14.5), lowest Kujala score (48.3 ± 18.1), lowest SF-12 PCS (37.5 ± 8.3), and lowest SF-12 MCS (50.8 ± 11.0). Across all diagnoses, there was a statistically significant negative correlation between the total Pain Catastrophizing Score (PCS) and the Kujala, SF-12 Physical, and SF-12 Mental Component Scores. Bivariate and multivariate analysis demonstrated a correlation between PCS and duration of symptoms and African-Americans. The Kujala and SF-12 PCS demonstrated a statistically significant correlation with age, smoking, and the Asian Indian ethnicity. The SF-12 MCS showed a significant relationship with the Asian Indian ethnicity. Bivariate analysis also showed a statistically significant relationship between the SF-12 PCS and the SF-12 MCS. Conclusion: Knee pain patients presenting to an orthopedic sports medicine clinic demonstrate diminished physical quality of life and psychological reserves. This study determined an association between catastrophizing behavior and other patient reported outcomes measuring pain, physical distress, quality of life and mental/emotional well-being. To optimize patient outcomes, psychological domain should be managed contemporaneously to orthopedic pathology.

Volume Number



283 - 286

Document Type





School of Medicine

Primary Department

Orthopedic Surgery





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