Grinding, Clicking, and Pivot Pain Resolve in Most Patients After Knee Arthroscopy


      To determine whether knee arthroscopy alleviates the symptom constellation of knee grinding/clicking, catching/locking, and pivot pain.


      One-year follow-up data from 584 consecutive subjects who underwent knee arthroscopy from August 2012 to December 2019 were collected prospectively. Subjects reported frequency of knee grinding/clicking, catching/locking, and/or pivot pain preoperatively and 1 and 2 years postoperatively. A single surgeon performed each procedure and documented all intraoperative pathology. We measured the postoperative resolution or persistence of these symptoms and used multivariable regression models to identify preoperative demographic and clinical variables that predicted symptom persistence. We also assessed changes in the Pain, Activities of Daily Living, and Quality of Life subscales of the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS).


      Postoperative symptom resolution was more likely for grinding/clicking (65.6%) and pivot pain (67.8%) than for catching/locking (44.1%). Smoking status, overweight/obesity, absence of meniscal tear, and number of compartments with focal cartilage lesions predicted persistence of 1 or more patient-reported knee symptoms. KOOS subscale scores consistently improved by at least one standard deviation. Individuals who had resolution of patient-reported knee symptoms exhibited roughly 2-fold improvements in KOOS Pain, ADL and Quality of Life scores compared with those whose symptoms persisted. Persistence of pivot pain was associated with the least improvement of the 3 KOOS subscales.


      Two in three patients with grinding/clicking or pivot pain experience symptom resolution after knee arthroscopy, although catching/locking is more likely to persist. Smoking status, overweight/obesity, absence of meniscal tear, and number of compartments with focal cartilage lesions predict symptom persistence after knee arthroscopy.

      Level of Evidence

      Therapeutic Level IV, retrospective cohort analysis of prospective data.
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