Research in OsteoArthritis Manchester (ROAM)

Knee osteoarthritis is a painful condition that restricts the daily lives of individuals due to pain and a lack of functional independence. Surgical intervention for osteoarthritis is of great expense to the NHS and has a large impact on the individual in terms of recovery time and functional independence. In some cases more conservative means of treatment may delay or negate the need for such surgery with research into conservative treatment being inconclusive as to their exact efficacy.

This programme has two related goals: firstly, to test the efficacy of potential conservative treatments for Osteoarthritis (OA) and, secondly, in our approach to evaluating these treatments, to introduce a new model that facilitates the general development of treatments for OA. Whilst OA can affect the hip, the hands and even the back, we will focus on knee OA because it is common and a major source of pain and disability. Our findings will have relevance to disease in other joints.

For further information please contact:

Principal Investigator

Professor David Felson


Trials within the programme:


Effect of lateral WEDGE insoles on Osteoarthritis knee pain and joint loading: The WEDGE study (Dr Richard Jones)
The aim of this study is to gain a more thorough understanding of the loading that occurs at the knee joint which leads to osteoarthritis and the effect that insoles have on this load. A number of insoles are being tested which have been designed to potentially reduce the load in the knee joint, hence reducing knee pain. This type of treatment could be extremely popular, effective and inexpensive to treat the symptoms of knee pain in osteoarthritis.


Patellofemoral brace treatment in patients with chronic painful patellofemoral osteoarthritis (PFOA) (Dr Michael Callaghan)

The primary goal of this study is to test in a trial the effect of patellofemoral bracing on knee pain and MRI findings in those with painful PFOA. In addition, ancillary studies will be undertaken examining quadriceps and hip abductor muscle strength and function to examine the correlates of weak hip abductors and dysfunctional quadriceps in PFOA. This study is no longer recruiting patients as final numbers have been recruited.


The effectiveness of Shoes and Insoles on the Loading at the Knee in subjects with knee osteoarthritis (Dr Richard Jones)

A number of shoe/or shoe insoles,designed to help the knee, could be extremely popular, effective and inexpensive interventions for knee osteoarthritis. We plan to test different shoes and insoles to see which ones lesson knee pain and favourably affect gait. This study is no longer recruiting patients as final numbers have been recruited.


TArgeting Synovitis in Knee Osteoarthritis (Professor Terence O'Neill)
An open label study of intra-articular (IA) steroid injection in the management of symptomatic knee OA. The aim of this study is to determine factors which predict the improvement in pain in patients treated with IA steroids.


Hydroxychloroquine Effectiveness in Reducing Symptoms of hand Osteoarthritis (Professor Terence O'Neill)
The HERO trial is a 252 patient, placebo-controlled trial which is taking place in 10 locations across the UK, including Manchester. The primary objective of this study is to determine whether hydroxychloroquine is effective at relieving pain in people with painful hand osteoarthritis (OA). The secondary aim of the study is to determine whether hydroxychloroquine is able to slow or stop the damage to joints caused by OA. People with painful hand osteoarthritis who agree to being involved in the study will be randomly assigned, on a one-to-one basis, to take either hydroxychloroquine tablets or placebo tablets. Participants will take the study medication in addition to their usual hand osteoarthritis medication for 12 months. We will examine pain and function at the beginning and end of the study to determine whether hydroxychloroquine is better at reducing pain than standard treatments.
This study is no longer recruiting patients as final numbers have been recruited.

During the trials a number of 3D Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI) are taken of the affected knees, to study how they change over time. The analysis of the images is being done by a team lead by Professor Tim Cootes.