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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2018 Feb 14;19(1):56. doi: 10.1186/s12891-018-1965-2.

The knitting community-based trial for older women with osteoarthritis of the hands: design and rationale of a randomized controlled trial.

Author information

School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8M5, Canada.
School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, 451 Smyth Road, Ottawa, ON, K1H 8M5, Canada.
School of Epidemiology, Public Health and Preventive Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
The Arthritis Society, Ottawa Office, Ontario Division, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine and School of Rehabilitation Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
School of Rehabilitation Sciences, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Ottawa Hospital, Ottawa, ON, Canada.
Val-des-Monts, University of Sherbrooke; and researcher, Research Center on Aging, Sherbrooke, QC, Canada.



The prevalence of hand osteoarthritis (HOA) has been reported to be higher amongst women over 50 years old (66%) compared to men of the same age (34%). Although exercise therapy has been shown effective in reducing symptoms and disability associated with HOA, adherence to treatment programs remains low. The primary objective of this RCT is to examine the effectiveness of a 12-week knitting program for morning stiffness (primary outcome) and pain relief (secondary outcome) 2 h post-wakening in females (aged 50 to 85 years old) with mild to moderate hand osteoarthritis (HOA).


A single-blind, two-arm randomized controlled trial (RCT) with a parallel group design will be used to reach this objective and compare results to a control group receiving an educational pamphlet on osteoarththritis (OA) designed by the Arthritis Society. The premise behind the knitting program is to use a meaningful occupation as the main component of an exercise program. The knitting program will include two components: 1) bi-weekly 20-min knitting sessions at a senior's club and 2) 20-min home daily knitting sessions for the five remaining weekdays. Participants assigned to the control group will be encouraged to read the educational pamphlet and continue with usual routine. Pain, morning stiffness, hand function, self-efficacy and quality of life will be measured at baseline, six weeks, 12 weeks (end of program) with standardized tools. We hypothesize that participants in the knitting program will have significant improvements in all clinical outcomes compared to the control group. A published case study as well as the preliminary results of a feasibility study as examined through a 6-week pre-post study (n = 5 women with HOA) involving 20-min daily knitting morning sessions led to this proposed randomized controlled trial research protocol. This article describes the intervention, the empirical evidence to support it.


This knitting RCT has the potential to enhance our understanding of the daily HOA symptoms control and exercise adherence, refine functional exercise recommendations in this prevalent disease, and reduce the burden of disability in older women.


(ACTRN12617000843358) registered on 7/06/2017.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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