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Knee Osteoarthritis Education Interventions in Published Trials Are Typically Unclear, Not Comprehensive Enough, and Lack Robust Development: Ancillary Analysis of a Systematic Review

journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-16, 08:11 authored by Anthony James GoffAnthony James Goff, De Oliveira Silva, D., Allison M Ezzat, Emily C. Bell, Kay M Crossley, Paul O'Halloran, Christian J Barton


To summarize the content, development, and delivery of education interventions in clinical trials for people with knee osteoarthritis (OA).


Ancillary analysis of a systematic review.

Literature Search

MEDLINE, EMBASE, SPORTDiscus, CINAHL, and Web of Science were searched from inception to April 2020.

Study Selection Criteria

Randomized controlled trials involving patient education for people with knee OA.

Data Synthesis

Content of education interventions was matched against a predefined topic list (n = 14) and categorized as accurate and clear, partially accurate/lacks clarity, or not reported. We examined whether education interventions included skill development or stated learning objectives and if they were developed based on theory, previous research, or codesign principles. Delivery methods and mode(s) were also identified. Data were summarized descriptively.


Thirty-eight education interventions (30 trials) were included. Interventions lacked comprehensiveness (median topics per intervention = 3/14, range = 0–11). Few topics were accurately and clearly described (10%, 13/136). Sixty-one percent (n = 23/38) of interventions targeted skill development, and 34% (n = 13/38) identified learning objectives. Forty-two percent (n = 16/38) were based on theory; 45% (n = 17/38) were based on research for chronic conditions, including 32% (n = 12/38) based on OA. Eleven percent of interventions (n = 4/38) were codesigned. Education was typically facilitated through face-to-face sessions (median = 9, range = 0–55), supplemented with telephone calls and/or written materials.


Education interventions for people with knee OA lacked comprehensiveness plus accurate and clear descriptions of topics covered. Most interventions failed to identify learning objectives and were not based on theory, previous research, or codesign principles.


Journal/Conference/Book title

Journal of Orthopaedic and Sports Physical Therapy

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