Objective: To explore the perceived importance of symptoms, treatment preferences, and research priorities of people with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.
Methods: Results of a focus group were used to facilitate the design of a questionnaire, distributed to 112 people with knee OA.
Results: Pain, disability, and instability in the joint were the most important symptoms, and anxiety about knee OA caused distress to many people. Oral drugs (90%), physical therapy (62%), and aids and adaptations (56%) were the most commonly used treatments. Surgery, oral drugs, and intra-articular injections were perceived as the most efficacious interventions. Patients' highest priorities for research were surgery and educational interventions, despite the fact that few had had surgery and education was not perceived as very effective.
Conclusions: The lack of a patient-centered approach to care leads professionals to ignore key symptoms and issues for individuals, and to a preoccupation with pharmaceutical interventions, rather than the treatment options that their patients prefer.