A poster presentation at the World Congress on Osteoarthritis looked at 1,333 hand osteoarthritis patients over four years, with respect to knee involvement.
To quote the author of the study, "When you have a patient with hand osteoarthritis and relatives with hand osteoarthritis, there is an increased likelihood of bilateral knee osteoarthritis."
Patients with one affected knee (and medial compartment involvement), were likely to have progressive involvement of the same compartment on the opposite side, just as patients with lateral joint involvement in one knee have a tendency toward lateral compartment involvement on the other side.
This symmetry of disease progression was unexpected, and thought to represent a possible prognostic factor for patients with the disease. No biologic markers for identifying this trend were found, yet the pattern of joint involvement was most impressive in patients with affected siblings.
Increased awareness of this association may play a positive role for treating rheumatologists' understanding of their patients' complaints.