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How can the GLA:D program help with my hip and knee osteoarthritis?

By Irene Terzopoulos (Physiotherapist)

Do you experience pain due to hip or knee osteoarthritis?
The good news is, you’re not alone.

According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), approximately 10% of Australians have osteoarthritis, with 3 in 5 being female. Not only do a significant number of people experience osteoarthritis, but there has been a 38% rise in total knee replacements from 2005-06 to 2017-18.

What is osteoarthritis?

Osteoarthritis, or OA, is a chronic condition characterised by the breakdown of cartilage that covers the ends of bones to create joints (AIHW, 2020). When our joints move, friction and rubbing occurs between the two cartilaginous surfaces, and overtime, pain, swelling, and loss of motion can occur. Without adequate intervention, these symptoms of often increase over time. As osteoarthritis begins to worsen, everyday activities may become increasingly more painful and more difficult to complete.
Source: AIHW 2015

What causes osteoarthritis?

There is no specific cause, but there are various factors that increase the likelihood of osteoarthritis both occurring and and progressing. These (Chapman & Valdes, 2012), include:

  • Being female
  • Genetics
  • History of joint injury or trauma (e.g. fracture)
  • High BMI / weight
  • Joint misalignment due to hereditary issues e.g. hip dysplasia
  • Repetitive joint-loading tasks (e.g. squatting, heavy lifting)

What is the GLA:D® program?

GLA:D® is an exercise and education program for people with knee and hip osteoarthritis symptoms that was developed by researchers in Denmark.

There are three elements of the program:

  1. Physiotherapist education, training, and support – All physiotherapists are trained and receive ongoing support
  2. GLA:D® intervention delivery – All registered participants receive individualised education and exercise tailored to patients’ needs and goals
  3. Data collection of patient outcomes – All participants are registered into an online data registry with an ‘opt out’ consent process which assists in the collection of participant-reported data.

What does the GLAD® program involve?

The GLA:D® program involves:

  • 12 x 1 hour sessions
  • Twice weekly
  • For a duration of 6 weeks
  • Neuromuscular exercises to improve joint stability, movement quality and overall joint function during everyday activities.

What kinds of exercises are involved?

  • Low impact warm up
  • Leg strength
  • Functional exercises
  • Core stability
  • Cool down

Source: GLA:D 2019

How can GLA:D help with my hip and knee osteoarthritis?

The aims of glad are to improve pain, strength, range of motion and quality of life in patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis by conducting a tailored program suited to your needs.

An article conducted by Roos et al. (2021) involving 28,370 patients with symptomatic knee or hip osteoarthritis across Australia, Denmark and Canada concluded that after completing the GLAD® program:

  • Average reported pain reduced by 33%
  • Walking speed increased by 12%
  • Sit-to-stand ability increased by 30%
  • Overall quality of life increased by 26% from baseline to immediately after intervention.

 

References:

  • Roos, E. M., Grønne, D. T., Skou, S. T., Zywiel, M. G., McGlasson, R., Barton, C. J., . . . Davis, A. M. (2021). Immediate outcomes following the GLA:D® program in Denmark, Canada and Australia. A longitudinal analysis including 28,370 patients with symptomatic knee or hip osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis and Cartilage, 29(4), 502-506. doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.joca.2020.12.024
  • GLA:D Australia. (2019). What is GLA:D Australia?. Retrieved from https://gladaustralia.com.au/