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GPs’ attitudes, beliefs and behaviours regarding exercise for chronic knee pain: a questionnaire survey.

BMJ Open. 2017 Jun 17;7(6):e014999

Authors: Cottrell E, Foster NE, Porcheret M, Rathod T, Roddy E

OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study was to investigate general practitioners’ (GPs) attitudes, beliefs and behaviours regarding the use of exercise for patients with chronic knee pain (CKP) attributable to osteoarthritis.
SETTING: Primary care GPs in the UK.
PARTICIPANTS: 5000 GPs, randomly selected from Binley’s database, were mailed a cross-sectional questionnaire survey.
OUTCOME MEASURES: GPs’ attitudes and beliefs were investigated using attitude statements, and reported behaviours were identified using vignette-based questions. GPs were invited to report barriers experienced when initiating exercise with patients with CKP RESULTS: 835 (17%) GPs responded. Overall, GPs were positive about general exercise for CKP. 729 (87%) reported using exercise, of which, 538 (74%) reported that they would use both general and local (lower limb) exercises. However, only 92 (11% of all responding) GPs reported initiating exercise in ways aligning with best-evidence recommendations. 815 (98%) GPs reported barriers in using exercise for patients with CKP, most commonly, insufficient time in consultations (n=419; 51%) and insufficient expertise (n=337; 41%).
CONCLUSIONS: While GPs’ attitudes and beliefs regarding exercise for CKP were generally positive, initiation of exercise was often poorly aligned with current recommendations, and barriers and uncertainties were reported. GPs’ use of exercise may be improved by addressing the key barriers of time and expertise, by developing a pragmatic approach that supports GPs to initiate individualised exercise, and/or by other professionals taking on this role.

PMID: 28624759 [PubMed – in process]