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Introduction: We aimed to synthesise the experiences of people living with hand osteoarthritis (HOA) and the perceptions of clinicians and carers relating to the quality of life and treatment services. Methods: We undertook a systematic search on MEDLINE, Embase, and CINAHL electronic databases for qualitative studies in HOA. We used the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme (CASP) checklist to assess methodological quality and thematically-synthesise the findings. We used GRADE-CERQual (Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation- Confidence in the Evidence from Reviews of Qualitative Research) to assess the quality of the evidence. Results: We identified 13 studies involving people with HOA (288 women and 39 men, average age 61.4 years) and clinicians. Five themes were identified from studies involving people with HOA: i) My hands are painful whenever I use them; ii) It stops me doing everyday activities; iii) It stops me doing things I value; iv) It’s psychologically challenging and v) I find ways of doing things. The quality of evidence was moderate except for pain with low quality of evidence. Most studies were conducted in Europe and the United Kingdom with participants recruited predominantly from hospital settings. We were not able to synthesise the three studies that involved clinicians as each explored different topics of HOA. There were no studies that involved carers. Conclusions: Our findings highlighted the impact of HOA in various areas of life and the need for personalised psychological support in practice.

Original publication




Journal article


Hand therapy

Publication Date