Keeping you moving

Arthritis (GLA:D)

GLA:D is an evidence-based education and exercise program developed by researchers in Denmark for people with osteoarthritis symptoms of the hip and/or knee. The program was introduced to Australia in 2017, with Wakefield Sports and Exercise Medicine Clinic becoming the first clinic in South Australia to begin running the program that same year. We continue to be one of the biggest providers of the program in Australia.

Current national and international guidelines recommend patient education, exercise and weight loss as the most effective first-line treatments for osteoarthritis. The GLA:D program addresses all three of these components to effectively manage the condition and is individually tailored to suit your level of function. Suitable GLA:D program participants may include:

  • People whose hip or knee pain is impacting their ability to perform their daily activities such as work, house duties, gardening, shopping, babysitting etc.
  • People who want to increase or maintain their activity levels but aren't sure how to due to their hip and/or knee pain.
  • Active individuals wanting to better manage their hip and/or knee pain with activities such as sport, running, walking, hiking, gym, dancing etc.
  • People who have a specific goal such as an upcoming hike or travel.
  • People who are considering surgery or are unfit for surgery.
  • People who have had surgery and may benefit program as part of their post-operative strengthening regime.
  • People who are awaiting joint replacement surgery. Anecdotally, we have found that those who have attended GLA:D pre-operatively recover quicker due to improved coordination and strength.

What to expect

Research from Denmark shows the GLA:D program reduces osteoarthritis symptom progression 32%. At the Wakefield Sports and Exercise Medicine Clinic, we have achieved:

  • a 45% improvement in average pain levels
  • a 39% improvement in worst pain levels
  • a 30% improvement in quality of life score

Other outcomes include less use of pain relief, less sick leave, and increase confidence in joint function. GLA:D participants report high levels of satisfaction with the program and increased activity levels within 12 months.

The GLA:D program at Wakefield Sports and Exercise Medicine Clinic involves:

  • An initial 40-minute assessment with one of our GLA:D trained physiotherapists to assess your suitability for treatment, explain the program and collect information about your current functional ability. You may need to attend a second appointment to grade your exercises and teach you exercise technique one-on-one before joining a class.
  • Two, one-hour long education sessions, which teach you about osteoarthritis and the available treatments, why exercise is important, how to exercise and be active with osteoarthritis, how the GLA:D program works to improve pain and function, and how to maintain this after you have completed the program.
  • 12, one-hour long physiotherapist-led group neuromuscular exercises sessions (ideally twice a week for six weeks) to improve muscle control, strength, joint alignment and function.
  • A review with your assessing physiotherapist to discuss how you can continue building on gains from the program once you have finished classes.
  • A three-month review to reassess your functional abilities.

At the end of the program you will have:

  • an ongoing program you can continue with at home to maintain and improve on strength and stability of the joint;
  • the equipment you need to continue this program at home; and
  • the knowledge you need to continue exercising and being active with osteoarthritis.

If home-based exercise is not suitable for your circumstances, we have the following physiotherapist led-options as well:

  • Ongoing attendance at GLA:D classes
  • Developing an exercise rehabilitation program (using Pilates equipment) that you can attend in a class.
  • Developing a suitable gym program.
  • Hydrotherapy.

We offer a flexible timetable at our Next Generation and city clinics, with classes during the day, in the evenings, early mornings and Saturday mornings (link to timetable). If you cannot attend the clinic for any reason, we do offer some telehealth sessions where you can participate in GLA:D from the comfort of your home.

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