Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common joint disorder in the U.S. and a leading cause of disability. Depression and obesity are highly comorbid among knee OA patients, and the combination of obesity and depression is associated with decreased physical activity, higher pain and disability, and more rapid cartilage degradation. Depression, obesity and OA exacerbate one another and share a common pathophysiology involving systemic inflammation and pro-inflammatory cytokines, reflecting a complex mind-body interaction. Current treatments for knee OA offer little to no benefit over placebo, and do not emphasize mind-body practices or physical activity to target the underlying pathophysiology. Mind-body interventions to lessen depressive symptoms and increase physical activity offer the ability to target biological, mechanical and psychological mechanisms of OA progression. Our long-term goals are to evaluate the mechanisms by which the Relaxation Response Resiliency Program (3RP) delivered via secure telehealth, and adapted for patients with depression, obesity and knee OA (GetActive-OA) promotes increases in physical activity and improved knee health. We hypothesize that the synergistic interaction between mindfulness, adaptive thinking, positive psychology and healthy living skills of the GetActive-OA will slow the progression of symptomatic knee OA by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokine expression and promoting optimal mechanical loading of the cartilage. Here we present the protocol for a mixed methods study that will adapt the 3RP for the needs of knee OA patients with depression and obesity with a focus on increasing physical activity (GetActive-OA), and iteratively maximize the feasibility, credibility and acceptability of the programs and research procedures.

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Published in Contemporary Clinical Trials Communications, v. 21, 100720.

© 2021 Published by Elsevier Inc.

This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

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Funding Information

This study is funded by a clinical trial grant awarded to CAJ and AMV by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH; R34 AT010370-01A1).