A pilot randomized controlled trial evaluating outdoor community walking for knee osteoarthritis: walk
Objectives:To determine the feasibility of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) examining outdoor walking on knee osteoarthritis (KOA) clinical outcomes and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) structural changes.
Method: This was a 24-week parallel two-arm pilot RCT in Tasmania, Australia. KOA participants were randomized to either a walking plus usual care group or a usual care control group. The walking group trained 3 days/week. The primary outcome was feasibility assessed by changes being required to the study design, recruitment, randomization, program adherence, safety, and retention. Exploratory outcomes were changes in symptoms, physical performance/activity, and MRI measures.
Results: Forty participants (mean age 66 years (SD 1.4) and 60% female) were randomized to walking (n = 24) or usual care (n = 16). Simple randomization resulted in a difference in numbers randomized to the two groups. During the study, class sizes were reduced from 10 to 8 participants to improve supervision, and exclusion criteria were added to facilitate program adherence. In the walking group, total program adherence was 70.0% and retention 70.8% at 24 weeks. The walking group had a higher number of mild adverse events and experienced clinically important improvements in symptoms (e.g., visual analogue scale (VAS) knee pain change in the walking group: - 38.7 mm [95% CI - 47.1 to - 30.3] versus usual care group: 4.3 mm [- 4.9 to 13.4]).
Conclusions: This study supports the feasibility of a full-scale RCT given acceptable adherence, retention, randomization, and safety, and recruitment challenges have been identified. Large symptomatic benefits support the clinical usefulness of a subsequent trial.
Trial registration number:12618001097235. Key Points • This pilot study is the first to investigate the effects of an outdoor walking program on knee osteoarthritis clinical outcomes and MRI joint structure, and it indicates that a full-scale RCT is feasible. • The outdoor walking program (plus usual care) resulted in large improvements in self-reported knee osteoarthritis symptoms compared to usual care alone. • The study identified recruitment challenges, and the manuscript explores these in more details and provides recommendations for future studies.
Publication titleClinical rheumatology
Department/SchoolMenzies Institute for Medical Research
Place of publicationBrussels
Rights statement© The Author(s) 2023, corrected publication 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made.