Vibratory perception threshold (VPT) is impaired in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). It is, however, not known if sensory deficits precede or follow as a consequence of OA. The aim of this study was to investigate VPT in 2 independent groups of patients with high risk of future OA (young anterior cruciate ligament [ACL]-injured patients and middle-aged meniscectomized patients) and compare them to age-matched controls.
VPT was assessed at the medial malleolus (MM) and medial femoral condyle (MFC) in 2 independent groups of patients and matched controls: ACL-injured patients (n = 39, mean ± SD age 24.0 ± 5.2 years, mean ± SD BMI 24.0 ± 2.9 kg/m2, mean ± SD time since injury 21.9 ± 21.6 months) and controls (n = 28, mean ± SD age 25.6 ± 4.4 years, mean ± SD BMI 23.6 ± 2.2 kg/m2), and meniscectomized patients (n = 22, mean ± SD age 49.6 ± 4.8 years, mean ± SD BMI 24.7 ± 2.7 kg/m2, mean ± SD time since surgery 49.6 ± 5.0 months) and controls (n = 25, mean ± SD age 49.4 ± 5.2 years, mean ± SD BMI 25.2 ± 4.9 kg/m2).
ACL-injured patients had a better VPT than controls at the MM (P = 0.030), which persisted after adjusting for age and sex (P = 0.034). At the MFC, there was a similar trend in favor of ACL injured patients (unadjusted P = 0.093, adjusted P = 0.122). No differences were seen in VPT at the MM between meniscectomized patients and controls, whereas there was a tendency for better VPT in meniscectomized patients at the MFC (unadjusted P = 0.085, adjusted P = 0.092).
Impaired vibratory sensation could not be confirmed in 2 independent groups of patients compared to age-matched controls, suggesting that impaired vibratory sense is not present in knee-injured patients at high risk or in the very early phase of knee OA.