Approximately 5 million Canadians are living with osteoarthritis (OA), which can cause joint pain, inflammation and stiffness, potentially impacting a person’s mobility and quality of life.  While there is currently no cure for (OA), there are steps you can take to help reduce symptoms and improve quality of life.

Whether you, a loved one, or patient/client is living with OA, there are a number of tools and resources available online that you may find useful.  This list introduces you to 12 helpful resources to learn more about osteoarthritis and how to manage its symptoms and impact.

Not sure if you have osteoarthritis?

  1. Talk to Your Doctor about Joint Pain handout: This resource created by the Arthritis Alliance of Canada is designed to help people have better conversations with their healthcare providers about joint pain symptoms, help them identify potential causes of pain and an effective treatment plan, as well as learn about prevention strategies and self-management practices.   

  1. Symptom Checker: The Arthritis Society’s Symptom Checker is an interactive tool that takes users through a series of questions about the symptoms they are experiencing in order to help them communicate more effectively with their healthcare providers.  Users can email the results to themselves or access them as a printable PDF.

Want to learn more about OA? 

  1. Arthritis Types: Osteoarthritis: Find information about osteoarthritis symptoms, diagnosis, treatment options, and self-management strategies on the Arthritis Society’s Osteoarthritis web pages.

  1. OA brochure: The Arthritis Society’s Osteoarthritis brochure provides information about the condition and its risk factors, as well as treatment options, nutrition, physical activity, exercise, and joint protection.
  1. OA Patient Reference Guide from Health Quality Ontario: This useful guide for adults with osteoarthritis of the hip, knee or hand helps readers understand what to ask for when receiving treatment to ensure they are receiving the highest-quality care.  The guide includes information on diagnosis, assessment, care plans, self-management, pain medication, and referrals to other healthcare providers.  It can help users ask informed questions about their care, learn more about types of care available, and work with healthcare provides to determine a care plan that works for them.

For clinicians

  1. OA Tool for Family Physicians: Developed collaboratively by the Arthritis Alliance of Canada, the College of Family Physicians of Canada and the Centre for Effective Practice, this resource was created for primary care providers who are managing patients with new or recurrent joint pain consistent with OA in the hip, knee or hand. The tool is intended to help clinicians identify symptoms and provide evidence-based, goal-oriented non-pharmacological and pharmacological management while identifying triggers for investigations or referrals.

  1. OA Care Quality Standards from Health Quality Ontario: This quality standard addresses care for adults 18 years of age or older who have been diagnosed with or are suspected to have osteoarthritis of the knee, hip, or hand (i.e., thumb or fingers). The quality standard focuses on the assessment, diagnosis, and management of osteoarthritis for people across all health care settings and health care professionals.

  1. Getting a Grip on Osteoarthritis: This is a free online educational program that helps Canadian primary health care professionals deliver optimal care for people with osteoarthritis.  While the program is free, is does require setting up an account. Professionals such as family doctors, nurses, physiotherapists and occupational therapists are encouraged to register to learn best practices about identifying and managing osteoarthritis.  Physicians may be eligible for up to 1 Mainpro+ Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit.

What is the research saying?

  1. Managing Hip and Knee OA Report from Bone & Joint Canada: This report summarizes the discussion and recommendations of the national meeting on Managing Hip and Knee OA, hosted by Bone and Joint Canada in June 2019. The purpose of the meeting was to review current OA management guidelines, examine strategies being used within Canada and internationally, as well as make recommendations on activities to improve the management of hip and knee OA.

  1. OARSI Guidelines for the Management of OA: The Osteoarthritis Research Society International (OARSI) created these guidelines on the non-surgical management of knee, hip, and polyarticular osteoarthritis.  These guidelines are intended to develop patient-focused treatment recommendations for individuals with Knee, Hip, and Polyarticular osteoarthritis (OA) that are derived from expert consensus and based on objective review of high-quality meta-analytic data.

Want to learn more about OA self-management?

  1. Arthritis Society Online Modules: These online learning modules provide information, tools and strategies on a number of arthritis-related topics to help people self-manage their symptoms.  Modules include:  Navigating Your Healthcare; Managing Chronic Pain; Overcoming Fatigue; Eating Well; Staying Active; Daily Living; Mental Health and Well-Being; as well as Arthritis & Work.

Need surgery?

  1. Surgery pages: Not everyone with osteoarthritis will require surgery, but for those who do, the Arthritis Society’s Surgery pages provide helpful information to prepare you for your surgery journey.  These include information on different types of surgery as well as what to expect and what to do before, during and after surgery.

Stayed tuned to the Arthritis Society’s Osteoarthritis page for more resources to be launched in the coming months, including:

  • OA Exercise Videos:  An Intro to Exercise and OA; Exercises for OA of the Hip & Knee; as well as Exercises for OA of the Shoulder
  • Information on Low-Load Activities for OA as well as Modifying Activities for OA
  • An Interactive Osteoarthritis Patient Journey
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