The association between reduced knee joint proprioception and medial meniscal abnormalities using MRI in knee osteoarthritis: results from the Amsterdam osteoarthritis cohort.

31 January 2014

BACKGROUND: Osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee is characterized by pain and activity limitations. In knee OA, proprioceptive accuracy is reduced and might be associated with pain and activity limitations. Although causes of reduced proprioceptive accuracy are divergent, medial meniscal abnormalities, which are highly prevalent in knee OA, have been suggested to play an important role. No study has focussed on the association between proprioceptive accuracy and meniscal abnormalities in knee OA. OBJECTIVE: To explore the association between reduced proprioceptive accuracy and medial meniscal abnormalities in a clinical sample of knee OA subjects. METHODS: Cross-sectional study in 105 subjects with knee OA. Knee proprioceptive accuracy was assessed by determining the joint motion detection threshold in the knee extension direction. The knee was imaged with a 3.0 T magnetic resonance (MR) scanner. Number of regions with medial meniscal abnormalities and the extent of abnormality in the anterior and posterior horn and body were scored according to the Boston-Leeds Osteoarthritis Knee Score (BLOKS) method. Multiple regression analyzes were used to examine whether reduced proprioceptive accuracy was associated with medial meniscal abnormalities in knee OA subjects. RESULTS: Mean proprioceptive accuracy was 2.9degree + 1.9degree. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-detected medial meniscal abnormalities were found in the anterior horn (78%), body (80%) and posterior horn (90%). Reduced proprioceptive accuracy was associated with both the number of regions with meniscal abnormalities (P < 0.01) and the extent of abnormality (P = 0.02). These associations were not confounded by muscle strength, joint laxity, pain, age, gender, body mass index (BMI) and duration of knee complaints. CONCLUSION: This is the first study showing that reduced proprioceptive accuracy is associated with medial meniscal abnormalities in knee OA. The study highlights the importance of meniscal abnormalities in understanding reduced proprioceptive accuracy in persons with knee OA. Copyright 2013 Osteoarthritis Research Society International. All rights reserved