Purpose: The aim of this study was to understand the living experiences of middle-aged Taiwanese adults with early knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Methods: A qualitative research design was used in this study. Participants (n = 17) were recruited by purposive sampling from orthopedic clinics at two medical centers in northern Taiwan. Data were collected through in-depth interviews from July to December 2010. The data were transcribed verbatim and summarized by content analysis.
Results: The results indicated that the lived experiences could be grouped into 4 main themes: awareness; surmise of causes; acquisition of strategies; and the search for confirmative diagnosis.
Conclusions: This study found that patients' knowledge is insufficient for recognition of the presence of early OA. There is a need for clinicians to integrate knowledge of OA into the health education system and to develop interventions for early knee osteoarthritic patients. Patients' disease cognition must be promoted so that their ability to process early symptoms of this disease will improve.