Implementing evidence based education and exercise for knee osteoarthritis

Mr Matthew Francis1, Dr Jo Kemp1, Mr Matthew Francis1, Mrs Karen Dundeles1, Dr Jason Wallis1,3, Prof Ewa Roos4, A/Prof Soren Skou4, Prof Kay Crossley1, Dr Christian Barton1,2

1La Trobe Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre, , , 2Deparment of Surgery, St Vincents Hospital, University of Melbourne, , , 3Cabrini Hospital, , , 4University of Southern Denmark, ,


Aim: Evaluate the feasibility of implementing an evidence based physiotherapy led 8-week education and exercise program for people with of knee OA – Good Life with osteoArthritis (GLA:D®).

Method: 40 physiotherapists (public and private) were trained to deliver GLA:D®, and implementation was supported where necessary. Knowledge and confidence to deliver evidence-based education and exercise was evaluated before and after. Patients attending a subset of GLA:DTM Australia programs completed outcomes at baseline and 3-months, including worst pain in the previous week and the knee osteoarthritis outcome score quality of life subscale (KOOS-QoL).

Results: The proportion of physiotherapists with adequate confidence to implement elements of evidence based care for knee OA increased from before to after the workshop, including prescription of resistance (80% to 100%), aerobic (69 to 88%) and functional (44 to 100%) exercise; and tailor education on self-management (84 to 100%), physical activity (61 to 100%), and weight management (64 to 80%) to people with knee OA improved following the workshop. GLA:DTM Australia was implemented in private practice, private hospital, public hospital and community health settings. Data from 69 patients (across all settings) indicated a 37% reduction in pain and a 12 point improvement in KOOS-QoL at 3-months.

Significance of the findings to allied health: GLA:DTM Australia improves physiotherapist knowledge and confidence to provide evidence-based education and exercise. Implementation of GLA:DTM Australia is feasible in public and private settings and leads to clinically meaningful improvements in pain and joint related quality of life.


Dr Barton works in both research and private practice treating sports and musculoskeletal patients in Melbourne. He currently holds a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and is the Communications Manager at La Trobe’s Sport and Exercise Medicine Research Centre. He is currently studying a Communications Masters focussed on Journalism Innovation. Dr Barton is an Associate Editor and Deputy Social Media Editor at the British Journal of Sports Medicine. Locally, he is on the board of the Victorian branch of the Musculoskeletal Physiotherapy Association, is a guest lecturer at La Trobe University and the University of Melbourne, and provides regularly workshops to physiotherapy groups.

Dr Barton’s research interests focus on knee, running injuries and knowledge translation including the use of innovative digital technologies. He is regularly an invited speaker both nationally and internationally, presenting on these topics. Additionally, he runs popular courses on knee pain and running injury management in Australia, the United Kingdom, Europe and Scandinavia.