ROCHESTER, Minn., Dec. 8 -- Smoking accelerates knee cartilage loss and increases pain in men with knee osteoarthritis, researchers here reported.
Current male smokers had more than twice the increased risk of cartilage loss at the tibiofemoral and patellofemoral joints compared with current nonsmokers men, according to a study published online in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases.
Pain scores, both at baseline and at follow-up, were also more than 30% higher in the smokers, reported Shreyasee Amin, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic, and colleagues.
The finding that cigarette smoking plays a role in the progression of knee osteoarthritis is important, Dr. Amin said, because it is a potentially modifiable risk factor. "Few studies have examined the association between smoking and symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, and findings have been conflicting," he said.