BMJ Open 11 (10) e053194 [2021-10-27; online 2021-10-27]
To examine the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic as lived by people with hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA), in Italy. A qualitative study based on semi-structured interviews. Urban and suburban areas in northern Italy. A total of 11 people with OA were enrolled through a purposeful sampling and completed the study. The experience of Italian people with OA during the COVID-19 pandemic. Four themes were brought to the forefront from the analysis of the interviews. (1) Being Stressed for the Limited Social Interactions and for the Family Members at High Risk of Infection, as the interviewees were frustrated because they could not see their loved ones or felt a sense of apprehension for their relatives. (2) Recurring Strategies to Cope with the Pandemic such as an active acceptance towards the situation. (3) Being Limited in the Possibility of Undergoing OA Complementary Treatments and Other Routine Medical Visits. (4) Being Unaware of the Importance of Physical Activity as First-Line Interventions which was an attitude already present before the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions impacted the quality of life and the care of individuals with hip and knee OA. The social sphere seemed to be the most hindered. However, the interviewees developed a good level of acceptance to deal with the pandemic. When it came to their care, they faced a delay of routine medical visits not related to OA and of other complementary treatments (eg, physical therapies) to manage OA. Finally, a controversial result that emerged from these interviews was that first-line interventions for OA (ie, therapeutic exercise) was not sought by the interviewees, regardless of the restrictions dictated by the pandemic. Policy-making strategies are thus necessary to support the awareness of the importance of such interventions.