Impact of pain on disability among older Mexican Americans

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37 Scopus citations


Background. Joint pain is a very common complaint among elderly persons and may lead to functional disability. The purpose of this study is to estimate the prevalence of self-reported pain on weight bearing and its impact on the 2-year incidence of limitation in lower-body activities of daily living (ADL) in initially nondisabled Mexican American elderly subjects. Methods. We studied a probability sample of 2167 noninstitutionalized Mexican American men and women aged 65 or older residing in five Southwestern states. Subjects were asked about pain on weight bearing, ADL, depressive symptomatology, and the presence of chronic diseases. The body mass index was computed using measured height and weight. Finally, a three-task (tandem balance, 8-foot walk, and repeated chair stands), performance-based, lower-body function test was performed. Results. The overall prevalence of pain on weight bearing in the sample was 31.9%, with 37.7% for women versus 24.0% for men (p < .001). The most prevalent sites of pain were knees (14.7%), followed by ankle/feet (12.1%). In a logistic regression analysis, pain was a significant independent predictor of subsequent disability and of the inability to perform tandem balance, 8-foot walk, and repeated chair stands. Conclusions. Pain on weight bearing is prevalent among older Mexican Americans and is a major independent risk factor for subsequent disability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)M400-M404
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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