Although there are recommendations for the management of osteoarthritis (OA), little is known about how people with OA actually manage this chronic condition.
The aims of this study were to identify the nonpharmacological and pharmacological therapies most commonly used for the management of hip or knee OA, in a community-based sample of adults, and to compare these with evidence-based recommendations.
A questionnaire was mailed to 2,200 adult members of Arthritis Queensland living in Brisbane, Australia. It included questions about OA symptoms, management therapies, and demographic characteristics.
Of the 485 participants (192 men, 293 women) with hip or knee OA who completed the questionnaire, most had mild to moderate symptoms. Ninety-six percent of participants (aged 27-95 years) reported using at least one non-pharmacological therapy, and 78% reported using at least one pharmacological therapy. The most common currently used non-pharmacological strategy was range-ofmotion exercises (men 52%, women 61%, p=0.05) and the most common frequently used pharmacological strategy was glucosamine/chondroitin (men 51%, women 60%, ns). For the most highly recommended strategies, 65% of men and 54% of women had never attended an information/ education course (p=0.04), and fewer than half (46% of women and 42% of men, p=0.03) were frequent users of anti-inflammatory agents.
The findings suggest that many people with knee or hip OA do not follow the most highly endorsed of the Osteoarthritis Research Society International recommendations for management of OA. Health professionals should be encouraged to recommend evidence-based therapies to their patients.