The GLA:D Progam was created 6 years ago and is highly respected in the world of physiotherapy as it is an evidence-based treatment program that gets fantastic results for those living with hip and knee osteoarthritis.
The program consists of supervised exercise and structured education, aiming to treat adults suffering from pain, stiffness and restriction in everyday activities caused by knee or hip osteoarthritis.
Elements of the GLA:D program
The GLA:D® Program for Hip and Knee Osteoarthritis comprises:
- 2 patient education sessions and,
- 12, 1-hour supervised exercise sessions (2 sessions per week), delivered over 6 weeks.
Patient education is a vital component of the program and helps to outline the rationale and efficacy of what the program entails and the results that can be achieved.
Research by Cormier (2017) says that your expectations for treatment predict the outcome you’re likely to receive from that treatment. If you know the treatment plan you’re embarking on works and why it works, you’re more likely to get a great result. This is why education is so important.
The exercise sessions include a range of exercises, improving muscular strength and endurance of the hip and knee muscles whilst also incorporating balance exercises into the exercise program that improve joint stability and control. Contrary to popular belief, exercise is safe, has a positive influence on cartilage and bone health and has been shown to help with pain.
There’s also research demonstrating exercise can help to thicken joint cartilage, as it stimulates the process through which new bone is developed. This is why it’s recommended for all hip and knee joint osteoarthritis sufferers, no matter how severe their symptoms of joint disease are.
Who is the GLA:D program designed for?
The GLA:D program is designed specifically for individuals experiencing problems with their hip and/or knee joint that have resulted in them being diagnosed with hip or knee osteoarthritis. Common hip and knee osteoarthritis symptoms that can arise include difficulty getting in and out of a chair, putting shoes and socks on as well as walking long distances.
Pain can also be quite varied for those with hip or knee osteoarthritis. So, those with any intensity of pain, even severe pain, can benefit from and are encouraged to participate in the GLA:D program.
Imaging, including X-Rays, is not recommended in the guidelines for treating hip and knee osteoarthritis and is not the gold standard by which a diagnosis is made.
An experienced clinician can make the diagnosis through a checklist that examines your predisposing risk factors (age, sex work history etc.), your symptoms, and the clinical findings on an examination.
At our Highgate clinic, we have a fully equipped gym that allows us to run the program precisely as it was intended and have clients undertaking the GLA:D program with us daily.
Why the GLA:D Physiotherapy program works
The GLA:D program works through a multi-faceted approach, acknowledging that although tissues play a role in the pain experience of osteoarthritis, there are numerous factors at play.
Tissues are addressed through physical activity, the strengthening and training of various movement patterns (for example, sitting to standing and step-ups). This allows improved ease of movement, reduced load at the hip or knee joint, and improved joint health, all of which serve to prevent the progression of hip and knee osteoarthritis symptoms and reduce pain.
Secondly, the education component serves to address other factors that contribute to pain – your thoughts, feelings and beliefs, lack of self-efficacy (i.e. lacking self-belief in being able to achieve your goals), weight control where appropriate and other things. As mentioned above, if you’re optimistic about the treatment plan you’re implementing and know that it’s research-proven to yield benefits, you’re more likely to experience a good outcome.
The components of physical activity, neuromuscular training sessions and patient education are recommended by the Royal Australia College of General Practitioners in their clinical guidelines for the management of hip and knee osteoarthritis, which was published in 2018.
The best thing about this program is that the results spoken about in the research (36% pain reduction, improved joint confidence, improved quality of life, reduced need for medication, reduced likelihood of surgery or the ability to delay surgery, fewer sick days required) has been studied across over 30,000 participants worldwide, a huge sample size, demonstrating the long term efficacy of the program.
We’ve helped hundreds of Adelaide locals partake in the GLA:D program with incredible results! In our experience over many years of running the GLA:D program, Adelaide locals respond extremely favourably to the GLA:D program, frequently reporting better results and reduction in symptoms than those listed above.
The outcomes reported by Australians who have undertaken the GLA:D program include:
- Reduced pain (36% on average)
- Improved joint confidence
- Improved quality of life
- Reduced reliance on painkillers (1 in 3 stop pain medication)
- Less sick days required as a result of your symptoms
- Delayed the need for surgery, or less likely to feel the need for surgery altogether
In addition to this, a study by Barton in 2021 reported that 3 in 4 people reported a clinically meaningful improvement in their quality of life at their 12-month follow-up.
Also reported in this study, 3 in 4 who desired to have surgery before undertaking the GLA:D knee program or GLA:D hip program have not had surgery AND no longer desire to have surgery at their 12-month follow-up.
If you live in Adelaide, have hip or knee osteoarthritis and want to improve your quality of life and avoid surgery, we can help! Feel welcome to enquire about how to get started with GLA:D knee program or GLA:D hip program by clicking the button below.
The program at Thrive Physio Plus works as outlined below:
1) An initial appointment to explain the program and undertake a physical assessment to measure your current functional ability.
We’ll also commence some of the exercise program that will be included in your 60-minute exercise sessions. Upon completion of your session, you’ll be provided with a personalised plan to take home on the day, detailing all of the relevant information spoken about, as well as a plan to move forward.
2) Two education sessions which teach you about OA, its risk factors, treatment options, and self-management strategies
This occurs across your initial visit and a second 60-minute one-on-one appointment with your clinician. providing you with the formal education session required for you to enter the GLA:D program. This is a great time to ask questions, discuss aspects of the program, and ensure you are well-informed.
3) Two one-on-one appointments to ensure we’re working you to the right level, you feel safe and comfortable with the exercise program being completed, and things are being well tolerated.
4) Group exercise sessions twice a week for six weeks to improve your control of the joint, your confidence in the joint and your strength.
This is the formal exercise component of the GLA:D program.
5) Completion of a questionnaire on registration with the program and then again at 3 months and 12 months after registration to measure changes in areas such as pain, function, quality of life and medication use.
6) A review at 3-months with your clinician to discuss progress and goals, and re-measure your functional ability.
This is undertaken after completion of your 6-week exercise program. We can also discuss a plan to move forward, whether you’d like to continue in the clinic or self-manage in your own environment.
Exercises for the hips and knees
Exercises that are helpful for the hips and knees include exercises that target the muscles around these joints, as well as those that mimic everyday activities and movements.
These include exercises such as:
- Sit to stands
- Gluteal muscle strengthening exercises
- Core strengthening exercises
- Balance exercises
Exercises that are included in the GLA:D program and that are highly beneficial for hips and knees are demonstrated by one of our GLA:D program participants Dennis in the video below.
After you’ve had your 60-minute initial GLA:D program exploration session with us, valued at $149 (private health rebates available*), we offer an all-inclusive GLA:D pack at Thrive Physio Plus via two options:
Option 1: $988 (SAVE $100)
- A 60 – minute education session $121 (usually $149)
- 12 x physio-supervised exercise sessions $50 (usually $55)
- 3 x 1:1 consultations $89 (Usually $94)
Option 2: Pay as you go (Total: $1088)
- Includes all of the above sessions
*Health insurance rebates are available with each visit if you have private health insurance with physio extras. Please call the clinic on 8490 0777 if you have any questions.
Thrive Physio Plus Adelaide is a leading provider of hip and knee osteoarthritis management. For more information or to chat with one of our expert hip and knee osteoarthritis Physiotherapists, call the clinic on 8490 0777 for a no-obligation chat. You’re also welcome to read the FAQ’s on the official GLA:D website.
Alternatively, you can book your GLA:D program exploration session, during which we’ll assess your suitability for the GLA:D program, by clicking the button below: