Pressure algometry is a suitable tool to assess anterior knee pain in osteoarthritic patients

  • Pedro HinarejosEmail author
  • Nerea Goicoechea
  • Mauricio Gidi
  • Joan Leal-Blanquet
  • Raul Torres-Claramunt
  • Juan Sánchez-Soler
  • Joan Carles Monllau
Original Article • KNEE - ARTHRITIS



Anterior knee pain is a frequent symptom in the osteoarthritic knee. Its intensity has been classically evaluated by the visual analogic score (VAS). The main objective of the study was to assess whether pressure algometry (PA) can be used as a reliable tool to quantify anterior pain in the osteoarthritic knee.


A prospective study was designed, including 160 patients scheduled for unilateral total knee arthroplasty. Patellar pain and function were evaluated according to a specific patellofemoral pain questionnaire and the Knee Society Score. Patients were asked about their pain at rest, while walking and in the stairs with the VAS score. PA by an algometer was used in the anterior part of the patella to determine the pressure pain threshold (PPT): the minimal pressure when the patient feels a painful sensation.


The mean values of PPT were 385.1 kPa in the knees going to be operated and 403.4 kPa in the contralateral knees (p < 0.05). The anterior knee pain in the patellar score averaged 6.9, and the total patellar score averaged 15.2. PPT values were correlated with the anterior pain in the patellar score (ρ = 0.31, p < 0.001) and also with the total patellar score (ρ = 0.33; p < 0.001).


PA demonstrated to be suitable to measure anterior knee pain in the osteoarthritic knee. PA can specifically assess the anterior knee pain better than other methods as VAS score. PA could be used as the main measurement when comparing different treatments for the anterior knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.


Pressure algometry Pressure pain threshold Anterior knee pain Osteoarthritic knee 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.


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© Springer-Verlag France SAS, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Consorci Parc de Salut Mar, Hospital de la EsperanzaUniversitat Autonoma de BarcelonaBarcelonaSpain

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