Supporting patients to manage osteoarthritis in the hand

November 14, 2013

Joint protection education provided by occupational therapists (OTs) is an effective way of supporting older adults with hand osteoarthritis to manage their condition, and provides an effective treatment in the medium term, new research has shown.

The Arthritis Research UK-funded trial from Keele University involved more than 250 people and was published in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases online.

However, the study, conducted by a team at the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University, failed to show that hand exercises were effective.

Osteoarthritis of the hand is a painful, disabling condition, which significantly restricts daily activities such as dressing and bathing.

"There is limited evidence for effective management of hand osteoarthritis, but we have produced clear evidence about the most clinically effective methods of delivering and supporting self-management at six months for with hand osteoarthritis, "explained study leader Professor Krysia Dziedzic.

"We have shown that support for self-management, through a joint protection education programme delivered by OTs, provides an effective approach."

"Our study also highlights the feasibility of supporting self-management in community settings, and offers strategies to close the gap between what patients should receive, and what therapies are offered," she added.

As part of the trial, 257 people aged over 50 with hand , from GP practises in central Cheshire and north Staffordshire, were randomised into four groups: joint protection; hand exercises; joint protection and hand exercises combined; and no joint protection or hand exercises. Participants in the last group received written advice only. All groups were given standardised written information on self-management approaches based on Arthritis Research UK booklets.

Joint protection involved practical help and education about how to manage pain during everyday activities, how to change habits, use labour-saving gadgets and avoid lifting heavy objects. Participants were also given home programmes to practise the skills they had been taught, and a weekly activity diary to complete.

At six months, the primary end point, participants who received joint protection were statistically significantly more likely to respond to treatment to those not receiving joint protection (33 per cent compared to 21 per cent). The response was not maintained over 12 months.

There was no statistically significant difference in those receiving hand exercises and those not receiving hand exercises (28 per cent compared to 25 per cent).

Explore further: Chondroitin sulfate improves hand function, relieves morning stiffness caused by osteoarthritis

More information: ard.bmj.com/cgi/rapidpdf/annrheumdis-2013-203938?ijkey=CPXYFgZwmzHt4Ky&keytype=ref

Related Stories

Statin therapy may reduce risk of osteoarthritis

May 30, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—Regular use of cholesterol-lowering medicines calledstatins may reduce a person's chances of developing the degenerative joint disease osteoarthritis, UK scientists have found.

Osteoarthritis improved by extra physiotherapy programmes

July 24, 2013

Aanual physiotherapy or regular exercise programmes make a significant difference for people with painful osteoarthritis in the knee and hip joints, and are cost-effective, new research from the University of Otago shows.

'Prehabilitation' prepares patients for hip and knee surgery

October 22, 2013

In less than 10 years, osteoarthritis has claimed both of Barbara Carson's knees and one of her hip joints. Yet it wasn't until the most recent surgery on her right knee that Carson heard the term "prehabilitation," let alone ...

Recommended for you

Low vitamin D tied to dry eye syndromes

August 23, 2015

(HealthDay)—Patients with vitamin D deficiency should be evaluated for dry eye syndromes, according to a study published online Aug. 13 in the International Journal of Rheumatic Diseases.

Yoga improves arthritis symptoms and mood, study finds

September 15, 2015

A randomized trial of people with two common forms of arthritis has found that yoga can be safe and effective for people with arthritis. Johns Hopkins researchers report that 8 weeks of yoga classes improved the physical ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.