An invigorating journey towards better function and well-being: A qualitative study of knee osteoarthritis patients’ experiences with an online exercise and education intervention

Charlotte Simonÿ*, Brian Clausen, Malene Beck, Mette Nyberg, Lars Hermann Tang, Søren T. Skou, Pætur M. Holm

*Corresponding author for this work

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Objective To explore what it means for patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) to engage in online delivered exercise and education. Method We combined participant observations and focus group interviews with knee OA patients who engaged in an 8-week program (12 exercise sessions and 2 education sessions) delivered online. Data underwent a three-level phenomenological-hermeneutic interpretation inspired by Ricoeur’s narrative and interpretation theory. Results We performed 17 participant observations during online group-based exercise sessions with twenty individuals with knee OA (12 females), median age 71 years (range: 48 to 81), and five focus group interviews with fifteen of the individuals. The following three themes emerged from the data analysis: 1. Exercise engagement portrays an experience of ownership of the exercise-based treatment, leading to better function and well-being and raising hope for the future 2. A good start but only halfway supported portrays perceived well-guided in performing knee OA exercise, however also some unmet support needs in the online format, and 3. Beneficial peer companionship with online constraints portrays a socially engaging peer forum that, at times, was limited by the online format. Conclusions This phenomenological-hermeneutic study reflects that supervised online exercise and education facilitate identity mobility, potentially increasing self-efficacy to adopt weekly exercise habits in patients with knee OA. However, the program may benefit from enabling a more interactive approach between peer participants and combining the online format with physical group classes. Moreover, further individualization and focus on a gradual approach toward self-management are encouraged.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100384
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage Open
Issue number3
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2023

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