Pain from osteoarthritis is more than just a nuisance. Knee pain, in particular, can not only keep people from exercising, but also have a chilling effect on their ability to participate in social activities, especially those that involve walking or traveling, says Elena Losina, the Robert W. Lovett Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Harvard Medical School and co-director of the Orthopaedic and Arthritis Center for Outcomes Research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. “In fact, the quality of life of a person with persistent pain due to knee osteoarthritis is similar to quality of life in women with metastatic breast cancer controlled by therapy,” she says. Arthritis can produce a range of symptoms from pain to stiffness. “The patterns of pain differ from person to person, but it often comes in waves or flares,” says Losina. “Also, evolving data show that while pain may fluctuate between flares, a relative minority — 10% to 15% — of knee osteoarthritis patients experience a steady worsening.”

 

 

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