In rural Tibet, the prevalence of lower limb pain, especially knee pain, is high: an observational study

Hoy, Damian G., Fransen, Marlene, March, Lyn, Brooks, Peter, Durham, Joanne and Toole, Michael J. (2010) In rural Tibet, the prevalence of lower limb pain, especially knee pain, is high: an observational study. Journal of Physiotherapy, 56 1: 49-54. doi:10.1016/S1836-9553(10)70054-0

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Author Hoy, Damian G.
Fransen, Marlene
March, Lyn
Brooks, Peter
Durham, Joanne
Toole, Michael J.
Title In rural Tibet, the prevalence of lower limb pain, especially knee pain, is high: an observational study
Journal name Journal of Physiotherapy   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1836-9553
Publication date 2010-03
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/S1836-9553(10)70054-0
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 56
Issue 1
Start page 49
End page 54
Total pages 6
Place of publication Melbourne, Vic, Australia
Publisher Australian Physiotherapy Association
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Question: What is the point prevalence and 12-month prevalence of lower limb musculoskeletal pain in rural Tibet? Does this differ with gender or age? What factors that could contribute to lower limb musculoskeletal pain are commonly present?

Design: Observational study using an investigator-administered questionnaire and observation walks through villages.

Participants: 499 people aged 15 years and over living in 19 rural villages of Shigatse Municipality, Tibet.

Results: The point prevalence of lower limb musculoskeletal pain was 40% (95% CI 34 to 46) while the 12-month prevalence was 48% (95% CI 42 to 54). In particular, the point prevalence of knee pain was 25% (95% CI 20 to 30) and the 12-month prevalence was 29% (95% CI 23 to 35), which was significantly higher than at any other site in the lower limb. On average, being female was not associated with lower limb musculoskeletal pain either currently (OR 1.3, 95% CI 0.9 to 1.9) or over the previous 12 months (OR 1.2, 95% CI 0.9 to 1.8), whereas being older than 50 years was, both for current pain (OR 4.1, 95% CI 2.8 to 6.1) and pain over the previous 12 months (OR 4.0, 95% CI 2.7 to 6.0). Observation walks through the villages revealed people squatting for sustained periods, carrying heavy loads for long distances, wearing poor quality footwear, and with severe bowing of the legs but no obesity.

Conclusion: Lower limb musculoskeletal pain, particularly knee pain, is common in this rural Tibetan population. They live an extremely arduous life that appears to place considerable pressure on their knees.  © Australian Physiotherapy Association 2010.
Keyword Lower limb
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences -- Publications
Official 2011 Collection
School of Public Health Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 7 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 8 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 23 May 2010, 00:03:05 EST