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Messages for osteoarthritis patients on importance of exercise, etc.
November 2, 2016

Patients improve more when they take matters into their own hands

Hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA) are conditions in which cartilage in the joint gradually wears away, eventually leading to long-term pain and disability. OA can negatively impact patients’ lives, and rising obesity rates and an aging population make it likely that more people will suffer from it in the future. Strategies that allow patients to self-manage their OA can significantly improve outcomes; however, there are some barriers to this approach and guidelines may not be clear enough for patients. Therefore, a study was conducted to compile a list of essential messages for patients with hip or knee OA in plain language that’s clear and easy to follow.

Team of experts and patients work together to create list of statements

A panel was formed by recruiting patients with hip or knee OA and OA experts with previous research experience. This search led to a total of 43 experts and eight patients who completed all rounds of the study. Together, this panel rated recommendations that were taken from a list of guidelines, as well as any other important statements on managing OA. When 70% or more of panel members agreed that a statement was “essential,� it was kept for the next round. This process was repeated until a final list of essential statements was made and ranked in order of importance.

Most statements related to different treatment approaches for OA

This selection process led to a list of 21 key messages about OA that were considered essential and ranked in order of importance. Of these, most (17 statements) referred to different treatment approaches for OA, and 12 of them were related to non-drug management of the condition. Some of the highest ranked recommendations included making lifestyle modifications like getting regular physical activity, losing weight, and avoiding sitting for too long. Other essential statements explained that OA is not inevitable with age, that medications should be avoided over the long-term, and that surgery should rarely be needed to treat hip or knee OA. This clear list of statements should be given to any patients with hip or knee OA and its use may lead to better self-management and improved overall outcomes for them.

-As reported in the November ’14 issue of Arthritis Care & Research