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Knee pain care has no impact on long-term outcomes

GP care for knee pain does not currently have any benefits for long-term outcomes and could even make things worse, research suggests.

A study of 1,500 older adults found 91% of people who consulted their GP still had knee pain after three years, compared with 73% who self-treated.

The researchers admitted that those who consulted might have had a worse problem to start with, but said the fact remained that existing treatments were hardly ever effective at relieving chronic pain.

Study leader, Dr Milisa Blagojevic, a post-doctoral researcher at Keele University, said: ‘There are complex issues going on - people themselves often have low expectations of what can be done, and may not prioritise their joint problem if they have other health concerns.

‘Treatments are often dependent on long-term compliance with tablets, and exercise regimes which may prove very difficult for patients to sustain.'

She added that guidance from NICE on osteoarthritis was due out in the Spring, which would lay out the options of what could be done for knee pain.

‘There is evidence that people are not receiving the full menu of treatment options in primary and secondary care, she said.

The paper was published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.

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