Functional improvement in hip pathology is related to improvement in anxiety, depression, and pain catastrophizing: an intricate link between physical and mental well-being

Paul Gudmundsson, Paul A. Nakonezny, Jason Lin, Rebisi Owhonda, Heather Richard, Joel Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Background: Pain catastrophizing, anxiety, and depression are risk factors for poor functional outcomes and worse post-treatment pain that can be treated alongside physical care given to orthopedic patients. While these factors have been shown to be common in patients with hip pathology, there is limited literature that follows these conditions throughout treatment. The purpose of this study was to track psychological factors in patients with various hip pathology to determine if they improved alongside functional measures following treatment. Methods: Patients presenting to a specialist hip clinic were prospectively evaluated for outcomes of pain catastrophizing, anxiety, depression, and hip function. Pre- and post-treatment assessments were undertaken: Pain Catastrophizing Scale, the Hospital Anxiety Depression Scale, the Hip Outcome Survey, and Hip Disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (HOOS). Patient characteristics were recorded. A correlation analysis, using the Spearman partial correlation coefficient (rs), was conducted to evaluate the relationship between change in psychological factors with change in functional outcomes. Results: A total of 201 patients (78 male, 123 female) with a mean age of 53.75 ± 18.97 years were included, with diagnoses of hip dysplasia (n = 35), femoroacetabular impingement (n = 35), lateral trochanteric pain syndrome (n = 9), osteoarthrosis (n = 109), and avascular necrosis of the hip (n = 13). Statistical analysis revealed a significant negative relationship between change in function level (as measured by HOOS ADL) and change in pain catastrophizing (rs = − 0.373, p < 0.0001), depression (rs = − 0.363, p < 0.0001), and anxiety (rs = − 0.264, p = 0.0002). Pain catastrophizing, depression, and anxiety improved with function. Spearman correlation coefficients also revealed that pain catastrophizing, HADS anxiety, and HADS depression improved with improvement in other patient-reported functional outcomes. Conclusions: Patients with hip pathology often exhibit pain catastrophizing, anxiety, and depression, but improvements in hip functionality are associated with decreased severity of these psychological comorbidities. Exploring this connection demonstrates the correlation between musculoskeletal impairment and psychosocial outcomes and mental health. Perioperative multidisciplinary assessment may be a beneficial part of comprehensive orthopaedic hip care.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number133
JournalBMC musculoskeletal disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • Hip function
  • Mental health
  • Outcomes
  • Pain catastrophizing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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