Fear of movement reduces quality of life for people with osteoarthritis

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quality of life, knee osteoarthritis, knee arthritis, arthritis digestPeople with knee osteoarthritis are experiencing a decreased quality of life due to a fear of movement associated with the condition, says research published in Arthritis Care & Research. And this fear of movement may be causing those with osteoarthritis to lead less active lifestyles, putting them at risk of their condition becoming worse.

A total of 350 people with knee osteoarthritis were asked to evaluate their fear of movement and give information on their age, gender, race, education, pain levels and daily activities.

  • 77% of the participants endorsed at least one item on the Brief Fear of Movement measurement scale;
  • 36% of the participants agreed with three or more items, implying a pronounced fear of movement;
  • Age, daily activity levels, depression history and capacity for exercise had a big impact on mindset.

“Fear of movement was common among patients with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis, and this could negatively impact physical activity,” the researchers explain. “Psychological variables were significantly associated with fear of movement, suggesting behavioural and psychological interventions may decrease fear of movement and improve outcomes among individuals with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis.”

Devi Rani Sagar from Arthritis Research UK, comments:

“More than four million people in the UK live with knee osteoarthritis, which causes pain, isolation and fatigue.

“We know that the chronic pain caused by arthritis can be a barrier in keeping active. This understandable fear of movement, caused by the pain someone can feel, is a factor in stopping people from including exercise in their daily lives.

“Exercise is incredibly important and we are committed to helping people remain active. We have developed specialised exercises tailored specifically for people with knee osteoarthritis to help people build up the confidence to exercise. We also recommend that a person with their arthritis speak to their GP if they are worried about exercising.”

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