This plan includes the core management strategies of education and information, weight management and physical activity. The plan should be tailored to the patient’s identified goals, needs and social determinants including their general health literacy and stage of acceptance of their condition.3,7
For patients who are eligible, this plan can be part of a GP Management Plan or Team Care Arrangement.
Patient education needs to be targeted according to their needs, goals, level of health literacy and acceptance. Offer accurate verbal and written information to all people with osteoarthritis. This will enhance understanding of the condition and its management, and counter misconceptions, such as that it inevitably progresses and cannot be treated. Treating the patient as an individual and not a disease state will be crucial to improved communication and better outcomes.1,3,7
For patients who are overweight or obese, every 1 kg of weight loss reduces pressure on the knee by up to 4 kg.8,9
Encourage overweight and obese patients with osteoarthritis to set a realistic goal of 5% or greater weight loss over a 20-week period (0.25% a week), as this is associated with improved function.2,10
Patients with normal weight, or patients who have achieved their weight loss goals, require support with weight maintenance to prevent weight gain. Prevention of weight gain is addressed by strategies that focus on weight maintenance, diet and physical activity.11
Physical activity, including aerobic and strengthening exercises, has been shown to be safe and effective, and is recommended as a core treatment for all patients with osteoarthritis, irrespective of age, comorbidity, pain or disability.1,3,12
The Osteoarthritis: Practical tools for diagnosis and management program covers strategies for exercise and weight management for your patients with osteoarthritis.