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BACKGROUND: Exercise is recommended for all people with osteoarthritis. However, these recommendations are based on randomised clinical trials including people with an average age between 60 and 70 years, and these findings cannot reliably be generalised to people aged 80 years or older. Rapid loss of muscle occurs after 70 years of age, and older people are more likely to also have other health conditions that contribute to difficulties with daily activities and impact on their response to exercise. To improve care for people aged 80 or older with osteoarthritis, it is thought that a tailored exercise intervention targeting both osteoarthritis and any other health conditions they have, may be needed. The aim of this study will be to test if it is possible to conduct a randomised controlled trial (RCT) for people over 80 years of age with hip/knee osteoarthritis of a tailored exercise intervention. METHODS: A multicentre, parallel, 2-group, feasibility RCT with embedded qualitative study, conducted in ≥ 3 UK NHS physiotherapy outpatient services. Participants (n ≥ 50) with clinical knee and/or hip osteoarthritis and ≥ 1 comorbidity will be recruited by screening referrals to participating NHS physiotherapy outpatient services, via screening of general practice records and via identification of eligible individuals from a cohort study run by our research group. Participants will be randomised (computer-generated: 1:1) to receive either: a 12-week education and tailored exercise intervention (TEMPO); or usual care and written information. The primary feasibility objectives are to estimate: (1) ability to screen and recruit eligible participants; (2) retention of participants, measured by the proportion of participants who provide outcome data at 14-week follow-up. Secondary quantitative objectives are to estimate: (1) participant engagement assessed by physiotherapy session attendance and home exercise adherence; (2) sample size calculation for a definitive RCT. One-to-one semi-structured interviews will explore the experiences of trial participants and physiotherapists delivering the TEMPO programme. DISCUSSION: Progression criteria will be used to determine whether a definitive trial to evaluate the clinical and cost-effectiveness of the TEMPO programme is considered feasible with or without modifications to the intervention or trial design. TRIAL REGISTRATION: ISRCTN75983430. Registered 3/12/2021.

Original publication




Journal article


Pilot feasibility stud

Publication Date





Adherence, Comorbidities, Exercise, Osteoarthritis, Over 80-year-olds, Rehabilitation