Experiencing Painful Osteoarthritis: What Have We Learned From Listening?

Gillian A Hawker

Disclosures

Curr Opin Rheumatol. 2009;21(5):507-512. 

In This Article

Osteoarthritis Pain is Fatiguing!

Until relatively recently, fatigue was not considered a feature of osteoarthritis and rarely evaluated. However, Wolfe et al.[28] showed that similar proportions of patients with rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis reported 'clinically important' fatigue in the last week (fatigue was evaluated using a visual analogue scale, VAS, with anchors at '0 – fatigue is no problem'; and '3 – fatigue is a major problem'; clinically important fatigue was defined as a VAS rating of ≥ 2/3). In their study, 41.7% with rheumatoid arthritis compared with 41.1% with osteoarthritis met criteria for clinically important fatigue. This and subsequent research has clearly linked fatigue to the osteoarthritis pain experience.[28,29] Wolfe et al.[28] showed quantitatively that 25% of the variability in VAS fatigue ratings was explained by pain in the last week similarly evaluated using a VAS. In focus groups of 46 community-living adults with moderate-severe hip or knee osteoarthritis, Power et al.[30] qualitatively documented substantial fatigue among participants, who described different types of fatigue – mental and physical – and attributed their fatigue to osteoarthritis pain and pain medications, as well as aging and poor sleep.

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