Core Recommendations for Osteoarthritis Care: A Systematic Review of Clinical Practice Guidelines

Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2023 Sep;75(9):1897-1907. doi: 10.1002/acr.25101. Epub 2023 Mar 17.


Objective: To evaluate the quality of clinical practice guidelines (CPGs) for interventions in management of osteoarthritis (OA) and to provide a synthesis of high-quality CPG recommendations.

Methods: Five databases (OvidSP Medline, Cochrane, Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature [CINAHL], Embase, and the Physiotherapy Evidence Database [PEDro]) and 4 online guideline repositories were searched. CPGs for the management of OA were included if they were 1) written in English and published from January 2015 to February 2022, focused on adults age ≥18 years, and met the criteria of a CPG as defined by the Institute of Medicine; and 2) were rated as high quality on the Appraisal of Guidelines for Research and Evaluation II (AGREE II) instrument. CPGs for OA were excluded if they were available via institutional access only, only addressed recommendations for the system/organization of care and did not include interventional management recommendations, and/or included other arthritic conditions.

Results: Of 20 eligible CPGs, 11 were appraised as high quality and included in the synthesis. Of interest were the hip, knee, hand, and glenohumeral joints and/or polyarticular OA. Consistent recommendations were that care should be patient centered and include exercise, education, and weight loss (where appropriate). Nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs and surgical interventions were recommended for disabling OA that had not improved with nonsurgical care. Hand orthoses should be recommended for patients with hand OA.

Conclusion: This synthesis of high-quality CPGs for OA management offers health care providers with clear, simple guidance of recommended OA care to improve patient outcomes.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint
  • Lower Extremity
  • Osteoarthritis* / diagnosis
  • Osteoarthritis* / therapy
  • Physical Therapy Modalities