Stages in the process toward disability
due to arthritis
Due to mobility limitations, knee osteoarthritis (OA) is
the leading cause of chronic disability in North America. Despite the well-documented staggering
costs of disability due to knee OA, little research has focused on the
process toward disability (hereafter disablement). Although conservative and surgical
treatments effectively improve pain, long-term patient satisfaction, mobility
and disability outcomes are quite variable.
The lack of knowledge regarding disablement is a major barrier to the
development of the most appropriate interventions. Little is known about the onset of
disability or the rate of disablement over time. It is likely that decline is not linear but
instead has stages of stability and others of rapid decline. We will investigate the process that occurs
between recognizing the symptoms of OA to surgical intervention, from the
perspective of the person with disease.
In examining the process we aim to identify stages in the sequence of
events leading to disability.
Sex differences in arthritis
knee OA is more prevalent and severe in women, women are less likely than men
to proceed to joint replacement in Canada. Being female is a risk factor
for faster deterioration and mechanical pathology, pain, obesity and strength
are different between the sexes. The expression and treatment of knee OA
varies based on sex, yet this disease is rarely regarded as sex-specific. From a set of variables representing
mechanical pathology, impairment and functional limitations, we will identify
whether models of disability are specific to sex in population.
Longitudinal studies of the progression toward
the future, we hope to characterize the rate of change in mobility and
disability status in a cohort with osteoarthritis.
Professional development and physical therapy
Physical therapists apply knowledge, skill and judgment to
promote health and to assess and break down the barriers that restrict
physical function. We are interested
in promoting professional development through research. For example, we have studied the elements
that promote success within the profession and continue to examine factors
such as mentorship as it relates to physical therapists.