University Of Tasmania
155640 - A piolt randomized control.pdf (1.6 MB)

A pilot randomized controlled trial evaluating outdoor community walking for knee osteoarthritis: walk

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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.


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Clinical rheumatology






Menzies Institute for Medical Research



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© The Author(s) 2023, corrected publication 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, (, 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.

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Human pain management; Treatment of human diseases and conditions

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