Guidelines recommend nondrug, nonoperative treatments as the first-line approach for hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA), yet there is limited data regarding use of these treatments in OA. This study describes the use of nondrug, nonoperative interventions in people with hip and knee OA.


A convenience sample of 591 people with hip or knee OA completed a questionnaire indicating their past and/or current use of 17 nondrug, nonoperative interventions each for their hip or knee OA. Descriptive analyses, based on frequency counts and proportions, and chi-square tests described the use of each intervention in the total cohort, and within subgroups of knee and hip OA.


Participants were currently using a mean ± SD of 0.8 ± 0.9 of the strongly recommended interventions. Making efforts to lose weight (50%, n = 294) and shoe orthoses (30%, n = 175) were the most common currently used interventions. Strengthening (26%, n = 152) and stretching exercises (23%, n = 133) were the most common interventions that participants had tried in the past but were no longer utilizing. Of note, 12% (n = 71) had never used any of the interventions. Use of 5 treatments (shoe orthoses, heat and/or cold, muscle strengthening exercises, walking aids, and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) was significantly different between the hip and knee cohorts (P < 0.05).


Use of nondrug, nonoperative interventions was low among people with hip and knee OA. Our findings show evidence–practice gaps, particularly with respect to the interventions most strongly recommended in clinical guidelines for hip and knee OA (weight loss and exercise).