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Susan L. Murphy, Dylan M. Smith and Angela K. Lyden

Background:

In a previous pilot study, the effect of 2 types of activity pacing instruction, general versus tailored, on osteoarthritis symptoms was examined and fatigue improved in the tailored group. Because activity pacing involves instruction on physical activity engagement, we undertook this secondary analysis to examine how pacing instruction affected physical activity patterns.

Methods:

Thirty-two adults with knee or hip osteoarthritis, stratified by age and gender, received either tailored or general activity pacing instruction. All participants wore an accelerometer for 5 days that measured physical activity and allowed for repeated symptom assessment at baseline and 10-week follow-up. Activity patterns were assessed by examining physical activity variability (standard deviation of 5-day average activity counts per minute), and average activity level (5-day average activity counts per minute).

Results:

Physical activity variability decreased in the tailored group and increased in the general group. No significant group changes in average activity from baseline to 10-week follow-up were found.

Conclusion:

In this pilot study, type of activity pacing instruction affected objective physical activity patterns in adults with OA. Tailored activity pacing was more effective at reducing high and low activity bouts corresponding to the message of keeping a steady pace to reduce symptoms.