Objective To study the associations between structural abnormalities on ultrasound (US) or conventional x-rays (CR) and pain in hand osteoarthritis (HOA).
Methods In 55 consecutive patients with HOA (mean age 61 years, 86% women) fulfilling the American College of Rheumatology criteria, pain in 30 separate hand joints was assessed upon palpation; osteophytes were assessed by US and CR and joint space narrowing (JSN) by CR. Associations between structural abnormalities and pain per joint were analysed using generalised estimated equations to account for patient effects and adjusted for age, sex, body mass index, US inflammatory features and other remaining structural abnormalities.
Results In 1649 joints, 69% and 46% had osteophytes on US and CR, respectively and 47% had JSN. Osteophytes and JSN showed independent associations with pain per joint adjusted: OR for osteophytes: 4.8 (95% CI 3.1 to 7.5) for US and 4.1 (95% CI 2.4 to 7.1) for CR; for JSN: 4.2 (95% CI 2.0 to 9.0).
Conclusions Osteophytes and JSN are independently associated with pain in individual HOA joints, taking into account patient effects.
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Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the local ethics committee of the Leiden University Medical Center.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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