Introduction Hand osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disorder in the adult population. No cure for hand OA is known yet, but treatment aims to reduce symptoms. Non-surgical and non-pharmacological therapy interventions can include splinting, patient education, and strengthening and range of movement exercises. However, it is still unclear which treatment is most beneficial for which patient. This study aims to identify subgroups of patients with hand OA that benefit most from the different non-surgical and non-pharmacological treatments. Methods and analysis We will conduct an individual patient data (IPD) meta-analysis by extracting IPD of eligible published randomised controlled trials (RCTs). A systematic literature search through Embase, Medline and Cochrane was performed on 8 February 2021. The primary outcome will be hand pain, and our secondary outcomes are objective and subjective hand physical functions. Subgroups include age, sex, body mass index, hypermobility and other comorbidities, pain medication, occupation, baseline pain, erosive OA, type and the number of hand joints involved, radiological severity of OA, and duration of symptoms. IPD of RCTs with homogeneous treatment interventions will be pooled and analysed using a two-stage approach to evaluate treatment effect on different subgroups. Ethics and dissemination No new data will be collected, so research ethical or governance approval is exempt. Findings will be disseminated via national and international conferences, publications in peer-reviewed journals, and summaries posted on websites accessed by the public and clinicians.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The OA Trial Bank was supported by ReumaNederland (grant number CIO-01). ReumaNederland is not involved in aspects as the design of the protocol or analysis plan. KD is part funded by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Applied Health Research Collaboration (ARC) West Midlands (NIHR 200165). KD is an NIHR Senior Investigator (ID NIHR 200259). The views expressed are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the NIHR or the Department of Health and Social Care.
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