Management of osteoarthritis in the primary-care setting: An evidence- based approach to treatment

Nancy E Lane, J. M. Thompson

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97 Scopus citations


The most prevalent musculoskeletal condition that results in joint pain is osteoarthritis (OA), with nearly 70% of the population >65 years of age demonstrating radiographic evidence of this disease. The knee is the joint commonly affected. Therapy for OA of the knee is directed at decreasing joint pain and increasing function and includes both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions. Pharmacologic therapy begins with analgesic medications and proceeds to topical analgesics and nonsteroidal anti- inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as needed. Intra-articular injections of corticosteroids can relieve pain and inflammation but the effect is of very short duration and such therapy should only be employed infrequently. Nonpharmacologic therapy should include patient education, weight loss if clinically indicated, physical therapy directed at maintaining joint mobility and strengthening muscle groups or an organized low-impact exercise program, and assistive devices as needed. Total joint replacement appears to be a successful therapy when joint pain severely limits a patient's ability to function. Experimental therapies to modify pain and function in OA patients include intra-articular injections of hyaluronan or arthroscopic joint lavage and debridement. In summary, both pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic measures can contribute to the treatment of pain from OA of the knee.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Medicine
Issue number6 A
StatePublished - Dec 29 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


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