Effectiveness of a telehealth-delivered clinician-supported exercise and weight loss program for hip osteoarthritis – protocol for the Better Hip randomised controlled trial

Kim L. Bennell, Catherine Keating, Belinda Lawford, Bridget Graham, Michelle Hall, Julie A. Simpson, Fiona McManus, Brinley Hosking, Priya Sumithran, Anthony Harris, Maame Esi Woode, Jill J. Francis, Jennifer Marlow, Sharon Poh, Rana S. Hinman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


Background: Hip osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of chronic pain and disability worldwide. Self-management is vital with education, exercise and weight loss core recommended treatments. However, evidence-practice gaps exist, and service models that increase patient accessibility to clinicians who can support lifestyle management are needed. The primary aim of this study is to determine the effectiveness of a telehealth-delivered clinician-supported exercise and weight loss program (Better Hip) on the primary outcomes of hip pain on walking and physical function at 6 months, compared with an information-only control for people with hip OA. Methods: A two-arm, parallel-design, superiority pragmatic randomised controlled trial. 212 members from a health insurance fund aged 45 years and over, with painful hip OA will be recruited. Participants will be randomly allocated to receive: i) Better Hip; or ii) web-based information only (control). Participants randomised to the Better Hip program will have six videoconferencing physiotherapist consultations for education about OA, prescription of individualised home-based strengthening and physical activity programs, behaviour change support, and facilitation of other self-management strategies. Those with a body mass index > 27 kg/m2, aged < 80 years and no specific health conditions, will also be offered six videoconferencing dietitian consultations to undertake a weight loss program. Participants in the control group will be provided with similar educational information about managing hip OA via a custom website. All participants will be reassessed at 6 and 12 months. Primary outcomes are hip pain on walking and physical function. Secondary outcomes include measures of pain; hip function; weight; health-related quality of life; physical activity levels; global change in hip problem; willingness to undergo hip replacement surgery; rates of hip replacement; and use of oral pain medications. A health economic evaluation at 12 months will be conducted and reported separately. Discussion: Findings will determine whether a telehealth-delivered clinician-supported lifestyle management program including education, exercise/physical activity and, for those with overweight or obesity, weight loss, is more effective than information only in people with hip OA. Results will inform the implementation of such programs to increase access to core recommended treatments. Trial registration: Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12622000461796).

Original languageEnglish
Article number138
Number of pages24
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • Clinical trial
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Hip
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Pain
  • Physical activity
  • Physiotherapy
  • Rehabilitation
  • Telehealth

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