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Effectiveness of behavioural change techniques in physiotherapy interventions to promote physical activity adherence in patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review protocol


Introduction Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common degenerative articular disease, the highest cause of individual level disability and a significant socioeconomic burden to healthcare services. Patient education and physical activity (PA) prescription are recommended components of interventions in several healthcare guidelines and are commonly provided by physiotherapists. However, these interventions lack long-term clinical effectiveness. Patient adherence to PA prescription requires patients to modify their PA behaviour and appears critical in maintaining symptomatic improvements. This systematic review aims to evaluate the effectiveness of behavioural change techniques (BCTs) used in physiotherapy interventions to improve PA adherence.

Methods and analysis Medline, Cochrane and PEDro registers of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, CINAHL and PsycInfo databases, and key grey literature sources will be rigorously searched for randomised controlled trials that compared a physiotherapy intervention incorporating BCTs with other therapies, placebo interventions, usual care or no-treatment. Two independent researchers will conduct literature searches, assess trial eligibility, extract data, conduct risk of bias assessment (using Cochrane risk of bias tool), classify BCTs and evaluate the quality of the body of literature following Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) guidelines. Narrative synthesis of key outcomes will be presented and meta-analysis will be performed if included trials are clinically homogenous, based on their intervention and comparator groups and outcome measures. This review will be reported in line with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic review and Meta-Analysis guidelines.

Ethics and dissemination Research ethics approval is not required. This review will help inform clinicians and researchers on the most effective behavioural change techniques used in physiotherapy interventions to enhance adherence to PA prescription for patients with lower limb OA. The findings will be disseminated through publication in a peer-reviewed journal and conference presentations.

Trial registration number PROSPERO CRD42016039932.

  • behaviour change
  • osteoarthritis
  • systematic review
  • physiotherapy

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