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Osteoarthritis Prevention & Management in Primary Care

Clinical Management of OA

Because there is neither a cure nor effective disease-modifying drug therapies for osteoarthritis (OA), management of symptoms (e.g. pain, tenderness and swelling) is essential for those patients who are living with the disease.  A variety of OA evidence-based management guidelines have been developed by notable international organizations: Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI), American College of Rheumatology (ACR), European League Against Rheumatology (EULAR), American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), just to name a few.  The management recommendations presented in this module align with the most commonly prescribed practices across these expert bodies; where inconsistencies exist, ACR guidelines will be used as the exemplar model.


OA Management Strategies

The strategies for OA management fall into two broad categories, which are typically used concurrently: pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic.  This module will provide a general overview of both categories. Select Pharmacologic or Nonpharmacologic below to learn more about these management strategies.


The Movement is Life™ Shared Decision support tool is intended to be used with patients with chronic knee pain. This framework was designed to support a discussion between healthcare providers and patients to help patients see the impact of their treatment choices over time. Patients will receive a projection about their pain and function level if they “do nothing” compared to if they engage in specific treatments (a combination of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic options) such as weight loss, increased physical activity, Physical Therapy and pain medications. Watch this 30-minute pre-recorded Lunch & Learn about the Shared Decision Making tool, featuring Charla Johnson, DNP, RN, ONC.

“The shared decision making process creates the structure for critical conversations to occur so that patients receive the treatment they want based on their personal values and preferences.” -Mary I. O’Connor, MD

The 2019 American College of Rheumatology and Arthritis Foundation updated guidelines for the management of knee, hip, and hand OA are now available. Watch this 30-minute pre-recorded Lunch & Learn about the updated guidelines, featuring Amanda Nelson, MD, MSCR, RhMSUS.