Dr Dawn Aitken

Funded by: Arthritis Tasmania and Eventide Homes
Recipient: Dr Dawn Aitken
Intended Department Menzies Institute for Medical Research, University of Tasmania
Project: A randomised controlled trial evaluating community walking for knee osteoarthritis


Walking is a treatment exercise which is used in the management of knee osteoarthritis, yet there is a lack of evidence about the effect that walking has on the knee joint. Therefore this ongoing study aims to investigate the impact of a 6 month aerobic walking exercise program on knee joint structure of patients with knee osteoarthritis. Knee joint structure will be assessed using MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). We will also examine the effect of walking on participants pain and function levels.

In this study one half of participants are participating in a 6 month aerobic walking program and the other half are receiving usual care only (i.e they will be in the control group). The participants in the walking group walk 2 days/week in a supervised group session and 1 day/week unsupervised at home. Group sessions are tailored to individual fitness levels and led by a physiotherapist or exercise physiologist with experience in prescribing exercise for OA patients.

The pilot study is ongoing. We have telephone screened 172 participants, and 49 of these have attended a screening clinic visit. Of the 49 screened, 40 have been enrolled in the study and randomised. Recruitment has now closed and the final participant will complete the study in December 2019. Three participants have completed the 6-month follow-up, with the other 37 at various stages of follow-up.

We hypothesise that this study will show that weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, is safe and does no harm to the knee joint. Such knowledge would have major implications, as it would dispel the fears around weight-bearing exercise, providing clinicians with the evidence base to confidently prescribe walking and reassuring patients to follow this advice. I would like to thank the grant funders Arthritis Tasmania and Eventide Homes

  • 1m 32s

    Can walking help knee osteoarthritis?