Effect of a short message service (SMS) intervention on adherence to a physiotherapist-prescribed home exercise program for people with knee osteoarthritis and obesity: Protocol for the ADHERE randomised controlled trial

Rachel K. Nelligan, Rana S. Hinman, Jessica Kasza, Sarah Schwartz, Alexander Kimp, Lou Atkins, Kim L. Bennell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleOtherpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a highly prevalent condition. People with knee OA often have other co-morbidities such as obesity. Exercise is advocated in all clinical guidelines for the management of knee OA. It is often undertaken as a home-based program, initially prescribed by a physiotherapist or other qualified health care provider. However, adherence to home-based exercise is often poor, limiting its ability to meaningfully change clinical symptoms of pain and/or physical function. While the efficacy of short message services (SMS) to promote adherence to a range of health behaviours has been demonstrated, its ability to promote home exercise adherence in people with knee OA has not been specifically evaluated. Hence, this trial is investigating whether the addition of an SMS intervention to support adherence to prescribed home-based exercise is more effective than no SMS on self-reported measures of exercise adherence. Methods: We are conducting a two-arm parallel-design, assessor-and participant-blinded randomised controlled trial (ADHERE) in people with knee OA and obesity. The trial is enrolling participants exiting from another randomised controlled trial, the TARGET trial, where participants are prescribed a 12-week home-based exercise program (either weight bearing functional exercise or non-weight bearing quadriceps strengthening exercise) for their knee by a physiotherapist and seen five times over the 12 weeks for monitoring and supervision. Following completion of outcome measures for the TARGET trial, participants are immediately enrolled into the ADHERE trial. Participants are asked to continue their prescribed home exercise program unsupervised three times a week for 24-weeks and are randomly allocated to receive a behaviour change theory-informed SMS intervention to support home exercise adherence or to have no SMS intervention. Outcomes are measured at baseline and 24-weeks. Primary outcomes are self-reported adherence measures. Secondary outcomes include self-reported measures of knee pain, physical function, quality-of-life, physical activity, self-efficacy, kinesiophobia, pain catastrophising, participant-perceived global change and an additional adherence measure. Discussion: Findings will provide new information into the potential of SMS to improve longer-term exercise adherence and ultimately enhance exercise outcomes in knee OA. Trial registration: Prospectively registered with the Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry. Reference: ACTR N12617001243303 Date/version: August 2019/two.

Original languageEnglish
Article number428
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Sept 2019


  • Adherence
  • Behaviour change
  • Exercise
  • Knee osteoarthritis
  • Mobile phone
  • RCT
  • SMS
  • Trial

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