Osteoarthritis of the knee and hip and activity: a systematic international review and synthesis (OASIS)

Joint Bone Spine. 2006 Jul;73(4):442-55. doi: 10.1016/j.jbspin.2006.03.001. Epub 2006 May 6.


The goal of this study was to determine which activities in four domains, daily life, exercises, sports and occupational activities, should be recommended, in favor or against, for the patient suffering from knee or hip OA.

Methods: Scientific literature was searched in Medline, Embase and Cochrane databases for articles in French or English, reporting original data. The articles were evaluated with standardized epidemiological criteria. Seventy-two articles were retained. Recommendations were graded according to the level of scientific evidence (A high, B moderate, C clinical consensus) and were formulated for primary care.

Conclusions and recommendations: For activity of daily life (ADL), the OASIS group states with a moderate level of scientific evidence, that ADL are a risk factor for knee OA and that risk increases with intensity and duration of activity. The group concludes that healthy subjects as well as OA patients in general can pursue a high level of physical activity, provided the activity is not painful and does not predispose to trauma (grade B). Radiographic or clinical OA is not a contraindication to promoting activity in patients who have a sedentary lifestyle (grade C). For exercises and other structured activities pursued with a goal of health improvement, the group states with a high level of scientific evidence that they have a favourable effect on pain and function in the sedentary knee OA patient. The OASIS group recommends the practice of exercises and other structured activities for the sedentary patient with knee OA (grade A). Static exercises are not favored over dynamic exercises, availability, preference and tolerance being the criteria for the choice of an exercise (grade A). As results deteriorate when exercises are stopped, they should be performed at a frequency of between one and three times per week (grade B). Professional assistance can be useful in improving initial compliance and perseverance (grade B). There is no scientific argument to support halting exercise in case of an OA flare-up (grade C). For sports and recreational activity, the group states with a high degree of scientific evidence, that these activities are a risk factor for knee and hip OA and that the risk correlates with intensity and duration of exposure. The group also states, with a high degree of scientific evidence, that the risk of OA associated with sport is lesser than that associated with a history of trauma and overweight. No firm conclusion could be drawn about the possible protective role of sports such as cycling, swimming or golf. The OASIS group recommends that athletes should be informed that joint trauma is a greater risk factor than the practice of sport (Grade A). The high level athlete should be informed that the risk of OA is associated with the duration and intensity of exposure (Grade B). The OA patient can continue to engage regularly in recreational sports as long as the activity does not cause pain (Grade C). The OA patient who practices a sport at risk for joint trauma should be encouraged to change sport (Grade C). For occupational activity, the OASIS group states with a high level of scientific evidence that there is a relationship between occupational activity and OA of the knee and hip. The precise nature of biomechanical stresses leading to OA remains unclear but factors such as high loads on the joint, unnatural body position, heavy lifting, climbing and jumping may contribute to knee and hip OA. The group recommends that taking an occupational history should always be part of managing the OA patient (Grade B). In the knee or hip OA patient, work-related activity that produces or maintains pain should be avoided (Grade B). Physicians should be alerted by the early knee and hip signs and symptoms in workers exposed to stresses that are known or supposed to favour knee or hip OA (Grade C).

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / rehabilitation
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / rehabilitation
  • Prognosis
  • Severity of Illness Index