Stiffness, pain, and joint counts in chronic chikungunya disease: relevance to disability and quality of life




Introduction/Objectives: To characterize the importance of musculoskeletal stiffness in a cohort of chikungunya patients with chronic joint symptoms. Method: Eighty-two patients were followed up 3 years after chikungunya infection. Tender and swollen joint counts, a pain intensity scale, Health Assessment Questionnaire-Disability Index (HAQ-DI), and the EuroQol EQ-5D quality of life instrument were completed. A musculoskeletal stiffness questionnaire provided scores for overall stiffness and its components: stiffness severity, physical impact, and psychosocial impact. Results: Patients had a mean age 51 ± 14 years. Sixty-seven patients were still experiencing chronic arthralgia. Musculoskeletal stiffness was reported by 43/67 patients with arthralgia and 3/15 patients without arthralgia. A physical impact of stiffness was reported by 87% patients and psychosocial impact by 71% patients. Mean tender joint count in patients reporting arthralgia was 6 ± 7, mean pain intensity 65 ± 20 out of 100, mean HAQ-DI was 0.54 ± 0.52, and mean EQ-VAS global health perception was 68 ± 62 out of 100. Stiffness severity was correlated with tender joint counts (ρ = 0.46) and pain intensity (ρ = 0.40). All three measures were equally well correlated with the EuroQol-VAS global health perception. Pain and tender joints were better correlated with the HAQ-DI (ρ = 0.68 and ρ = 0.63), but stiffness was more strongly correlated with several quality of life domains, including mobility. Swollen joints were a poor predictor of outcomes. Conclusions: Musculoskeletal stiffness following chikungunya infection is distinct from arthralgia. It does not always occur in the same patients or with a corresponding intensity. Joint pain and stiffness may be independently associated with disability and quality of life assessments.

Palabras clave


Activities of daily living, Health assessment questionnaire, Outcomes


Rigidez muscular
Fiebre chikungunya
Dimensión del dolor