Physiotherapist 'kneeds' your help with Osteoarthritis research

Friday 27 April 2012, 8:08PM
By AUT University

If you’re aged 45-80 with Osteoarthritis of the knee, physiotherapist and AUT masters student Brydie Harris wants to hear from you!

As part of a research team led by AUT University’s Professor Peter McNair and Associate Professor Duncan Reid, Brydie is currently completing a masters thesis investigating the difference in cardiovascular fitness in individuals with knee Osteoarthritis and age and gender matched healthy individuals.

In New Zealand it’s estimated that 16.2% of the population over the age of 15 years will be living with some form of arthritis. The economic cost of arthritis in New Zealand is estimated at $2.35 billion; specific health sector costs accounted for $563.5 million with hip and knee arthritis accounting for a 70% share of that.

Osteoarthritis is a widespread and debilitating condition, says Brydie. “It’s typically characterised by pain, joint stiffness and joint inflammation and is often associated with significant physical disability.”

“Osteoarthritis of the knee is a disease process associated with cartilage damage, bone thickening and new bone growth. It is common in the aging population and is often associated with reduced activity levels and reduced cardiovascular fitness. This is thought to contribute to a number of other health related problems.”

The study will involve two tests performed using a stationary exercise bike. These tests are standardised clinical and laboratory tests used to measure cardiovascular fitness.

Brydie is also interested in how accurately a standard clinical fitness test predicts cardiovascular capacity in individuals with knee osteoarthritis.

“There has already been considerable research in advocating exercise based treatment in the conservative management of Osteoarthritis. Results indicate reduced pain levels, increased strength and flexibility, reduced joint stiffness and improved overall function. There is limited research in the area of cardiovascular fitness and Osteoarthritis. If cardiovascular fitness is to be improved in people with Osteoarthritis appropriate assessment tests are required. “

If you’re between 45-80 years of age; have Osteoarthritis of the knee and would like to participate in the study please contact Brydie at Shore Physiotherapy on  09 489 7573,  027 278 7408 or email: She is also keen to hear from people aged 45-80 that don’t have Osteoarthritis of the knee and are otherwise fit and well.