The objective of this study was to develop a stepped model of care for the treatment of knee pain in older adults in primary care based on recommended interventions. A systematic search was undertaken to identify interventions recommended for knee osteoarthritis or knee pain in clinical guidelines and systematic reviews. Twenty-seven recommended interventions were identified from 77 publications following the systematic search. A four-step model of care incorporating these interventions was developed through the consensus exercise. Step 1 comprised ten interventions that should be offered to all older adults with knee pain, but could also be provided through self-care. These included exercise, weight loss, paracetamol and written information. Steps 2 and 3 comprised 10 and 6 interventions, respectively, to be considered for people with persisting pain and disability. These included pharmacological interventions such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in step 2 and intra-articular corticosteroids in step 3, and non-pharmacological interventions such as physiotherapy in step 2 and occupational therapy in step 3. Step 4 was referral for surgery.
Rheumatology 2007 46(4):638-648