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Pain Research and Treatment
Volume 2013, Article ID 787054, 7 pages
Research Article

The Associations between Pain Sensitivity and Knee Muscle Strength in Healthy Volunteers: A Cross-Sectional Study

1Clinical Motor Function Laboratory, The Parker Institute, Department of Rheumatology, Copenhagen University Hospital, Nordre Fasanvej 57, 2000 Frederiksberg, Denmark
2Laboratory for Musculoskeletal Pain and Motor Control, Center for Sensory-Motor Interaction (SMI), Department of Health Science and Technology, Faculty of Medicine, Aalborg University, Fredrik Bajers Vej 7-D3, 9220 Aalborg, Denmark

Received 16 May 2013; Accepted 19 August 2013

Academic Editor: Anna Maria Aloisi

Copyright © 2013 Marius Henriksen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Objectives. To investigate associations between muscle strength and pain sensitivity among healthy volunteers and associations between different pain sensitivity measures. Methods. Twenty-eight healthy volunteers (21 females) participated. Pressure pain thresholds (PPTs) were obtained from 1) computer-controlled pressure algometry on the vastus lateralis and deltoid muscles and on the infrapatellar fat pad and 2) computerized cuff pressure algometry applied on the lower leg. Deep-tissue pain sensitivity (intensity and duration) was assessed by hypertonic saline injections into the vastus lateralis, deltoid, and infrapatellar fat pad. Quadriceps and hamstring muscle strength was assessed isometrically at 60-degree knee flexion using a dynamometer. Associations between pain sensitivity and muscle strength were investigated using multiple regressions including age, gender, and body mass index as covariates. Results. Knee extension strength was associated with computer-controlled PPT on the vastus lateralis muscle. Computer-controlled PPTs were significantly correlated between sites ( ) and with cuff PPT ( ). Saline induced pain intensity and duration were correlated between sites ( ) and with all PPTs ( ). Conclusions. Pressure pain thresholds at the vastus lateralis are positively associated with knee extensor muscle strength. Different pain sensitivity assessment methods are generally correlated. The cuff PPT and evoked infrapatellar pain seem to reflect the general pain sensitivity. This trial is registered with NCT01351558.