Mental Health and Tobacco Use Are Correlated With Physical Function Outcomes in Patients With Knee Pain and Injury


      To examine the relation between the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) domains of Pain Interference (PROMIS-PI), Depression (PROMIS-D), and Physical Function (PROMIS-PF) for nonoperative patients presenting to our ambulatory sports orthopaedic clinic with knee complaints and to determine whether patient demographic characteristics influence PROMIS scores, particularly tobacco use.


      All patients treated nonoperatively for a primary complaint of knee pain were recruited for participation. Patients were included if they completed all 3 PROMIS questionnaires prior to their clinical evaluation. Patients were excluded if their treatment plan determined that surgical intervention was warranted. Survey results were compiled, and statistical correlations were run between PROMIS domains and patient demographic characteristics.


      A total of 527 PROMIS questionnaire sets were included. PROMIS-PF had a strong negative correlation with PROMIS-PI (R = –0.75, P < .001) and a nearly moderate negative correlation with PROMIS-D (R = –0.47, P < .001). When evaluating patient demographic characteristics, we found a significant decrease in physical function scores and increases in pain and depression scores in both current and former tobacco users compared with nonsmokers. Differences in all PROMIS domains between smokers and nonsmokers exceeded minimal clinically important differences.


      Our study showed an inverse correlation between PROMIS-PI and PROMIS-PF, as well as between PROMIS-D and PROMIS-PI, in patients seen in the ambulatory setting for knee complaints treated nonoperatively. A positive correlation was found between PROMIS-PI and PROMIS-D. Tobacco use was a patient demographic factor found to significantly impact PROMIS scores leading to minimal clinically important differences across all 3 PROMIS domains. The findings of this study may be used to identify patients at high risk of poor outcomes.

      Level of Evidence

      Level III, observational study.
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