Skip to main content

Research Repository

Advanced Search

Strategies to enhance physical activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis: A Delphi survey

Thomas, Rachel; Berry, Alice; Swales, Caroline; Cramp, Fiona

Strategies to enhance physical activity in people with rheumatoid arthritis: A Delphi survey Thumbnail


Profile Image

Dr Alice Berry
Associate Professor of Rehabilitation

Caroline Swales

Fiona Cramp
Professor in Long Term Conditions


Introduction: Managing symptoms, resisting functional decline and maintaining health and independence are key motivators for people with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) who successfully engage with physical activity (PA). To inform PA support for people with RA the aim was to determine whether the broader RA population share similar beliefs and strategies regarding PA to those who report successful engagement. Methods: A modified two-stage Delphi approach. 200 patients from four National Health Service rheumatology departments received a postal questionnaire containing statements relating to engagement with PA derived from prior interview data from physically active individuals with RA. Statements rated as agree or strongly agree by >50% of respondents were retained and the same respondents asked to rate and prioritize potential PA intervention components. Ethical approval: Oxford C Research Ethics Committee (ref 13/SC/0418). Results: Questionnaire one received 49 responses (11 males, 37 females, 1 unknown), mean age 65years (range 29–82). Low levels of PA were reported by 60% of respondents. Questionnaire two responses (n=36) indicated that a PA intervention should include information about prevention of RA symptoms worsening and benefits of PA for joints; help participants to achieve improved pain management and a feeling of being in control of their RA. For PA maintenance it was important that medication controlled symptoms, and PA instructors understood RA to ensure safety. Conclusions: A key factor to consider when designing a PA intervention for people with RA is that education from a knowledgeable instructor should underpin programme delivery alongside effective medication. Programmes may need tailoring based on demographics; this should be explored in future studies.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 11, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 8, 2023
Publication Date Sep 30, 2023
Deposit Date Mar 13, 2023
Publicly Available Date Sep 27, 2023
Journal Musculoskeletal Care
Print ISSN 1478-2189
Electronic ISSN 1557-0681
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 21
Issue 3
Pages 723-732
Keywords Nursing; Rehabilitation; Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy; Rehabilitation; Orthopedics; Sports Medicine; Chiropractics; Rheumatology; Engagement; Physical activity; Rheumatoid Arthritis; Arthritis
Public URL
Publisher URL


You might also like

Downloadable Citations