Content » Vol 43, Issue 3

Original report

Prevalence and impact of joint symptoms in people with stroke aged 55 years and over

Chamila Hettiarachchi , Philip Conaghan, Alan Tennant, Bipin Bhakta
DOI: 10.2340/16501977-0648


Objective: To establish the prevalence and patterns of self-reported musculoskeletal symptoms in community-dwelling stroke survivors and their impact on common activities of daily living.
Methods: Analysis of data from two consecutive postal surveys
in northern England. Data on overall joint pain, swelling or stiffness and difficulties with daily living tasks were obtained from 16,222 individuals aged ≥ 55 years (a response rate of 86%). Information on stroke-specific impairments was obtained from the 415 individuals who reported a stroke.
Results: Forty-seven percent of stroke survivors reported musculoskeletal symptoms. There was a greater prevalence of reported symptoms in the smaller peripheral joints: 23.4% of stroke survivors reported symptoms in the ankle joint compared with 12.3% in the general population aged ≥ 55 years. Although both stroke-specific impairments and musculoskeletal pain contributed to difficulty in functional tasks, the effect of both was more than additive (for example, left hip symptoms increased the risk of having difficulty with standing and walking by 10.3 times (95% confidence interval
1.0, 106.3); stroke affecting the right leg increased the odds by 4.8 times (95% confidence interval 2.5, 9.2). Having both impairments increased the odds by 49.1 times (95% confidence interval 10.7, 225.4)).
Conclusion: Musculoskeletal symptoms are common in people with stroke and can have a significant additional effect on disability.

Lay Abstract


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