Objective To determine the prevalence of knee pain among 3 major ethnic groups in Malaysia. By identifying high-risk groups, preventive measures can be targeted at these populations.
Design and setting A cross-sectional survey was carried out in rural and urban areas in a state in Malaysia. Secondary schools were randomly selected and used as sampling units.
Participants Adults aged ≥18 years old were invited to answer a self-administered questionnaire on pain experienced over the previous 6 months. Out of 9300 questionnaires distributed, 5206 were returned and 150 participants who did not fall into the 3 ethnic groups were excluded, yielding a total of 5056 questionnaires for analysis. 58.2% (n=2926) were women. 50% (n=2512) were Malays, 41.4% (n=2079) were Chinese and 8.6% (n=434) were Indians.
Results 21.1% (n=1069) had knee pain during the previous 6 months. More Indians (31.8%) experienced knee pain compared with Malays (24.3%) and Chinese (15%) (p<0.001). The odds of Indian women reporting knee pain was twofold higher compared with Malay women. There was a rising trend in the prevalence of knee pain with increasing age (p<0.001). The association between age and knee pain appeared to be stronger in women than men. 68.1% of Indians used analgesia for knee pain while 75.4% of Malays and 52.1% of Chinese did so (p<0.001). The most common analgesic used for knee pain across all groups was topical medicated oil (43.7%).
Conclusions The prevalence of knee pain in adults was more common in Indian women and older women age groups and Chinese men had the lowest prevalence of knee pain. Further studies should investigate the reasons for these differences.
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Contributors YCC had fulfilled all three of the ICMJE guidelines for authorship, contributing the conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data. She also drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content, and provided final approval of the version to be published. HCB, had also fulfilled in acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data. She also drafted the article or revised it critically for important intellectual content. CJN had also fulfilled all three of the ICMJE guidelines for authorship, contributing the conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data. CLT involved in acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data for this study. NSH, had also contributed the conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis, and interpretation of data. WYC had also fulfilled the criteria for authorship in acquisition of data, or analysis, and interpretation of data. SMC, too fulfilled the criteria for authorship in acquisition of data, or analysis, and interpretation of data.
Funding This study was supported by an unrestricted research grant from Glaxo Smith Kline Pharmaceutical company (GSK PCM-UMMC 002).
Disclaimer The funder had no role in the study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval University of Malaya Medical Center Medical Ethics Committee.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
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