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Optimizing Patient Education in Knee Osteoarthritis Care

Optimizing Patient Education in Knee Osteoarthritis Care

The goals of knee osteoarthritis (OA) treatment are to improve health-related quality of life and limit the progression of joint damage. “The optimal management of knee OA requires that patients be given a combination of non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic treatments,” says Pekka Mooar, MD. “Educating patients about the nature of their condition and strategies to manage it is important when caring for these individuals.” Informing patients about the pros and cons of the various types of therapies to alleviate pain and improve function takes time, but Dr. Mooar says it is an important part of the process. “Recent guidelines from groups like the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons have provided recommen­dations for the non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic management of knee OA,” he says. “These guidelines make recommendations that are based on only well-designed studies with placebo controls. They do not support many of our traditional or surgical treatment options. For clinicians, this can make patient education even more challenging. Patients must be treated on a case-by-case basis, depending on their specific characteristics.” Lifestyle Interventions One of the most important aspects of managing patients with knee OA, according to Dr. Mooar, is to provide education about the objectives of treatments and the importance of lifestyle changes. “Patients should recognize that they can take action to reduce their chances of requiring knee surgery or arthroplasty,” he says. “Lifestyle changes are among the most effective non-operative treatments, but these options are best used when patients with knee OA are identified early.” Guidelines recommend that patients with knee OA be encouraged to undertake regular aerobic, muscle strengthening, and range of motion exercises,” says Dr. Mooar....
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