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Research into Osteoarthritis Manchester


The ROAM research programme aims to improve the lives of patients by testing drug and non-drug treatments for knee osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis (OA) is a painful condition that can restrict the daily lives of sufferers leading to decreased quality of life and loss of independence.

Whilst OA can affect any joint, we focus on knee OA because it is common and a major source of pain and disability.

  • The knee is the most common site for osteoarthritis.

Surgical intervention for OA is costly to the NHS and can have a large impact on the patient due to long recovery times.

Our work could lead to treatments that delay or reduce the need for surgery.

Our current study: PROP-OA

Our research would not be possible without the help of people with osteoarthritis.

Our current study, PROP-OA, is a collaboration study between The University of Manchester and Keele University. PROP-OA is a clinical trial that is testing advice, exercise and braces for adults aged 45 and over with knee pain and knee osteoarthritis.

We have finished recruiting patients to PROP-OA and are now analysing the results.

Visit the study website for more information.

Previous studies

Since the start of the ROAM research programme, we have been testing and evaluating new medical devices and medicinal products for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.

Our previous studies (no longer recruiting) are:


Full title: The Effect of denosumab on pain and bone marrow lesions in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: A randomised double blind placebo controlled clinical trial.


Denosumab is a treatment which is now used to treat people with fragile bones (osteoporosis).

There is some evidence that certain drugs which have been used to treat osteoporosis may also help reduce knee pain in people with knee osteoarthritis.

The purpose of this study is to find out whether denosumab is effective at reducing pain and structural damage in knee OA.

Research lead: Professor Terence O’Neill


Full title: The Effect of lateral wedge INsoles on pain in individuals with medial Osteoarthritis who biomechanically.


Lateral wedge shoe insoles decrease medial knee loading, but trials have shown no effect on pain in medial knee osteoarthritis.

However, loading effects of insoles are inconsistent, and they can increase patellofemoral loading. We undertook this study to investigate the hypothesis that insoles would reduce pain in preselected patients.

Research lead: Professor David Felson


Full title: Effect of lateral WEDGE insoles on Osteoarthritis knee pain and joint loading.


Studies of lateral wedge insoles in medial knee osteoarthritis have shown reductions in the average external knee adduction moment but no lessening of knee pain.

Some treated-patients actually experience increases in the external knee adduction moment which could explain the overall absence of pain response.

We examined whether, in patients with painful medial osteoarthritis, reductions in the external knee adduction moment were associated with lessening of knee pain.

Research lead: Professor Richard Jones (University of Salford)


Full title:

BRACE: Patellofemoral brace treatment in patients with chronic painful patellofemoral osteoarthritis.


The aim of the BRACE study was to determine whether in people with painful patellofemoral knee osteoarthritis whether a patellar brace would decrease knee pain and reduce patella-femoral bone marrow lesions (BMLs).


Full title:

BRACE-TWO: Effects of patellofemoral brace and taping on muscle and knee dynamics.


The aim of the BRACE-TWO study was to assess using weight-bearing magnetic resonance imaging, whether a patellar brace altered patellar position and alignment in patellofemoral joint osteoarthritis.


Full title: The effectiveness of shoes and insoles on the loading at the knee in subjects with knee osteoarthritis.


The objective of this study was to determine the difference between different shoes and lateral wedge insoles on external knee adduction moment, knee adduction angular impulse, external knee flexion moment, pain, and comfort when walking in individuals with medial knee osteoarthritis.

Research lead: Professor Richard Jones (University of Salford)


Full title: Targeting synovitis in knee osteoarthritis.


The aims of this study were to determine whether synovial tissue volume as assessed using contrast-enhanced MRI changes in response to intra-articular steroid therapy and whether change in symptoms of pain correlates with changes in synovial tissue volume.

Research lead: Professor Terence O’Neill


Full title: Hydroxychloroquine effectiveness in reducing symptoms of hand osteoarthritis.


Synovitis is believed to play a role in producing symptoms in persons with hand osteoarthritis, but data on slow-acting anti-inflammatory treatments are sparse.

The aim of this multicentre trial, in which the ROAM group participated, was to determine the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine versus placebo as an analgesic treatment of hand osteoarthritis.

Our study aimed to determine the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine versus placebo as an analgesic treatment of hand osteoarthritis.

Research lead: Professor Terence O’Neill

Who we are

See who is involved with the ROAM programme.

Research team

Contact us

If you have a question about the ROAM research that isn’t answered on this website, please get in touch.

Email: terence.o’