Total knee replacement may be more painful for vitamin D deficient, postmenopausal women, according to a new study. Other risk factors for increased postoperative pain include smoking and high body mass index.

The study is published in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).

In the study, researchers sought to investigate the effect of vitamin D levels on function outcomes and risk factors of moderate to severe pain in postmenopausal women after total knee replacement.

Previous studies have sought to identify factors that play a role in determining the amount of pain women feel after undergoing knee replacement surgery. Among other factors, these studies pinpointed postmenopausal status and low estrogen levels as being associated with joint paint primarily in women aged 50 to 59 years.

The study notes that there was a high prevalence (67.3%) of vitamin D deficiency in postmenopausal women scheduled for total knee replacement. These study results are in line with previous studies that suggested that vitamin D deficiency is associated with the development of osteoarthritis, as well as muscle cramps, bone pain, walking difficulty, decreased bone mineral density, and fractures. The results of studies like these could provide valuable insights to clinicians evaluating postmenopausal women before major joint surgeries, a media release from The North American Menopause Society explains.

“This study found that high body mass index, smoking, and vitamin D deficiency were independent risk factors for moderate to severe postoperative pain after knee replacement in postmenopausal women. Additionally, those with preoperative vitamin D deficiency had poorer functional outcomes. These findings highlight opportunities for clinicians to address these modifiable factors before postmenopausal women undergo joint replacement surgeries.”

— Dr. Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director

[Source(s): The North American Menopause Society, EurekAlert]

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