Clinical observations note that foot pain can be linked to contralateral pain at the knee or hip, yet we are unaware of any community-based studies that have investigated the sidedness of pain. Because clinic-based patient samples are often different from the general population, the purpose of this study was to determine whether knee or hip pain is more prevalent with contralateral foot pain than with ipsilateral foot pain in a population-based cohort.
Framingham Foot Study participants (2002–2008) with information on foot, knee, and hip pain were included in this cross-sectional analysis. Foot pain was queried as pain, aching, or stiffness on most days. Using a manikin diagram, participants indicated whether they had experienced pain, aching, or stiffness at the hip or knee and specified the side of any reported pain. Sex-specific multinomial logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals for the association of foot pain with knee and hip pain, adjusting for age and body mass index.
In the 2,181 participants, the mean ± SD age was 64 ± 9 years; 56% were women, and the mean body mass index was 28.6. For men and women, bilateral foot pain was associated with increased odds of knee pain on any side (ORs = 2–3; P < .02). Men with foot pain were more likely to have ipsilateral hip pain (ORs = 2–4; P<.03), whereas women with bilateral foot pain were more likely to have hip pain on any side (OR = 2–3; P < .02).
Bilateral foot pain was associated with increased odds of knee and hip pain in men and women. For ipsilateral foot and hip pain, men had a stronger effect compared with women.