Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor) Jan 7 2020
Today, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), in partnership with the Arthritis Foundation (AF), released the 2019 ACR/AF Guideline for the Management of Osteoarthritis of the Hand, Hip and Knee. The ACR periodically updates guidelines to reflect any advances in management added to the literature since the last publication, which in this case was 2012.
Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common rheumatic disease that affects the entire joint, involving the cartilage, joint lining, ligaments, and bone. It is characterized by breakdown of the cartilage (the tissue that cushions the ends of the bones between joints), bony changes of the joints, deterioration of tendons and ligaments, and various degrees of inflammation of the joint lining (called the synovium). According to the Arthritis Foundation, approximately 27 million Americans suffer from the disease. Establishing effective management and treatment for OA is an ongoing goal in rheumatology.
"Patients with osteoarthritis can vary quite a bit in how the disease affects them. They might have a single joint, a few joints or many joints that are involved where symptoms can occur throughout adult life," said Sharon Kolasinski, MD, a practicing rheumatologist who served as lead author for the guideline update. "The new guideline recognizes not only the variety of clinical presentations of OA, but also the broad array of treatment options available. Clinicians and patients can choose from educational, behavioral, psycho-social, mind-body, physical and pharmacological approaches. It's important to remember that treatment for OA is not one size fits all. Over time, various options might be used then reused or changed in response to a change in the patient's symptoms."
For the first time, the new guideline incorporates direct patient participation in its development. OA patients, who were recruited through a partnership with the Arthritis Foundation, were especially instrumental in emphasizing the role of shared decision making when choosing treatment options such as those with conditional recommendations.
We are proud to have been involved in this work and to facilitate the important contributions of the patient and parent partners. Their lived experiences truly helped to guide this project." Cindy McDaniel, Arthritis Foundation's Senior Vice President of Consumer Affairs
Between the extensive literature review and patient insight, the updated guideline includes several differences since the 2012 recommendations. Of note, exercise remains an important intervention in the updated recommendations, with a strong body of literature supporting its use for almost all patients with OA. Below are other recommendations included in the update: Related Stories
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