INTRODUCTION: Multi-site pain has not been investigated among adolescents suffering from knee pain. This study aimed to examine the trajectory of pain in adolescents with knee-pain, to determine if multi-site pain in adolescents together with other established prognostic factors (frequency of pain, sex, sports participation, Health Related Quality of Life (HRQoL)) was associated with five-year prognosis of knee-pain and function.
METHODS: This prospective cohort study included 504 adolescents with knee pain and 252 controls. At five-year follow-up, participants responded to an questionnaire which documented prescence and severity of knee pain and co-occurring pain.
RESULTS: At follow-up, 358 (71.0%) of those with knee-pain at baseline, and 182 (72.2%) controls responded. Female sex, low HRQoL, daily pain, and multi-site pain were associated with an increased odds of knee pain after 5 years (odds ratio: 1.41-3.37). Baseline multi-site pain was not associated with problems running at follow-up, whereas higher sports participation at baseline was associated with less problems running at follow-up (odd ratio 0.49). Among those with knee-pain at inclusion, the number of pain sites increased from a median of 2 (IQR 1-3) to 4 (IQR 2-6) at follow-up (P<0.05). Those with multi-site pain at follow-up score significantly worse in self-reported knee function, compared to those with one pain site only.
CONCLUSION: This study identified a set of factors that appeared to be associated with an increased risk of knee pain at five years follow up. Research is needed to understand and help direct treatment of adolescents with multi-site pain.