Pilot Testing a New Model of Care for Knee Osteoarthritis



Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a common cause of chronic pain that can be debilitating, leading to challenges with everyday tasks.  Physical activity is known to improve pain and mobility in the affected joints of people with knee OA, but recent studies suggest only about 13% of people with the condition meet recommended physical activity guidelines.


WalkingLed by Dr. Linda Li, the TRACK-OA study pilot tested a new program that uses wearable activity trackers to support people with knee pain set goals to be more physically active safely and at a pace that’s right for them. The program involved:

  • A group education session
  • The use of a Fitbit Flex – a wireless physical activity tracking device
  • Telephone activity counseling by a registered physiotherapist


The primary goals of this study was to test the feasibility of the new program and to assess whether or not it supports people with knee OA to increase their physical activity and reduce their sedentary time.


The research team recruited 30 eligible participants with knee OA from the greater Vancouver area. Eligible participants were randomly assigned to either the Immediate Intervention Group (receiving the program immediately upon consent) or the Delayed Intervention Group (receiving the program 6 weeks later). During the study period, participants completed online questionnaires and also wore an armband accelerometer for 7 days at the beginning of the study, after 1 month, and after 2 months. This provided information on knee health as well as time spent being physically activity and sedentary.


This study is funded by The Arthritis Society.


Scientific papers published about this study include:

2014-03-17_1630_PaperA community-based physical activity counselling program for people with Knee osteoarthritis: Feasibility and Preliminary efficacy of the Track-OA study. Li LC, Sayre EC, Xie H, Clayton C, Feehan LM. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2017;5(6):e86.

2014-03-17_1630_PaperFeasibility and preliminary efficacy of a physical activity counselling intervention using Fitbit in people with knee osteoarthritis: the TRACK-OA study protocol. Clayton C, Feehan L, Goldsmith CH, Miller WC, Grewal N, Ye J, Yoo JY, Li LC. Pilot and Feasibility Studies. 2015;1:30.

2014-03-17_1630_PaperSenseWearMini and Actigraph GT3X accelerometer classification of observed sedentary and light-intensity physical activities in a laboratory setting. Feehan LM, Goldsmith CH, Leung AY, Li LC. Physiotherapy Canada. 2016;68(2):116-23.


Principal Investigator:

Dr. Linda Li, University of British Columbia & Arthritis Research Canada



Cam Clayton, University of British Columbia

Charles Goldsmith, Simon Fraser University

Lynne Feehan, Fraser Health

Bill Miller, University of British Columbia


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