Versus Arthritis Centre for Sport, Exercise and Osteoarthritis
University of Nottingham

Knee osteoarthritis: Is there a good adherence to exercise therapy?


Data from Arthritis Research UK in July 2013 shows that 4.71 million people have sought treatment for knee osteoarthritis (OA) in the UK. In view of the growing and ageing population, and the increasing rate of obesity, the number of people with knee OA is estimated to reach 6.5 million by 2020. OA can cause a financial burden on the National Health Service (NHS), as total knee replacement surgeries were estimated to have cost £426 million in 2010. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) and the Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) provide guidelines for the treatment and care of people with OA in any joint. Advice for all patients with OA is to 1) ensure patients have access to the right information about OA and self-management, 2) promote exercise and physical activity, and 3) achieve weight loss if patients are overweight or obese. 

Studies clearly show the benefits and safety of exercise in reducing pain and disability in patients with knee OA, however, the number of people adhering to exercise is relatively low, ranging from 26-40%, and the level of exercise adherence generally decreases over time despite the positive effects. Thus, there is scope to investigate factors to improve exercise adherence.

What the research hopes to achieve

  1. Explore the beliefs and attitudes of people with knee OA regarding the inclusion of light-to-moderate intensity exercise or physical activity into their daily routine.
  2. Investigate how confident people with knee OA are about carrying out exercises, overcoming challenges, and maintaining exercise on their own.
  3. Explore how people with knee OA view their quality of life and how they feel their quality of life could be improved.
Work Package Epidemiology (WP1)
Principal Investigators Dr Kim Edwards, Dr Shirley Thomas and Prof Mark Batt (University of Nottingham)
PhD Studentship Angela Ching

Group of elderly people doing leg exercises