OBJECTIVES: The relationship between radiographic evidence of osteoarthritis and knee pain has been weak. This may be because features that best discriminate knees with pain have not been included in analyses. We tested the correlation between knee pain and radiographic features taking into account both image analysis features and manual scores.
METHODS: Using data of the Multicentre Osteoarthritis Study, we tested in a cross-sectional design how well X-ray features discriminated those with frequent knee pain (one question at one time) or consistent frequent knee pain (three questions at three times during the 2 weeks prior to imaging) from those without it. We trained random forest models on features from two radiographic views for classification.
RESULTS: X-rays were better at classifying those with pain using three questions compared with one. When we used all manual radiographic features, the area under the curve (AUC) was 73.9%. Using the best model from automated image analyses or a combination of these and manual grades, no improvement over manual grading was found.
CONCLUSIONS: X-ray changes of OA are more strongly associated with repeated reports of knee pain than pain reported once. In addition, a fully automated system that assessed features not scored on X-ray performed no better than manual grading of features.