GLA:D™ Canada shares success of best practice therapy treatment for patients with symptomatic knee or hip osteoarthritis

Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation

Developed and clinically tested in Denmark, the education and tailored exercise program is proven to reduce symptoms of knee and hip pain by up to 27 per cent

Toronto, ON Thursday, September 7, 2017 – As part of the Arthritis Awareness Month efforts happening throughout September to bring greater attention to the life-changing solutions available for those coping with chronic pain, the Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation (COF) and its knowledge translation division, Bone and Joint Canada, are proud to share insights about the first year of the Canadian introduction of GLA:D™ Canada (

Good Life with osteoArthritis in Denmark (GLA:D®) is a program to help ease the pain and the physical limitations faced by those living with hip and knee osteoarthritis (OA). Developed and clinically tested in Denmark since 2012, GLA:D® is an education and tailored exercise program that has been demonstrated to reduce the symptoms of knee and hip OA by up to 27 per cent.

The program is effective for all stages of the disease and was launched in Ontario in September 2016 through funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, making Canada the first country in the world outside of Denmark to adopt and deliver the program. To date, hundreds of Canadians have benefited from the GLA:D® program; participants who consistently follow the program have reduced pain and improved physical activity, as well as reduced use of painkillers and the need for disability leave.

“We finally have a program that is clinically proven to reduce the progression of symptoms and improve quality of life for those with hip and knee OA. GLA:D® has the potential to bring relief to thousands of Canadians living with OA today,” said Dr. Aileen Davis, senior scientist at Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, professor at the University of Toronto and lead researcher for the GLA:D™ Canada program. “Data collected over the next three years will help us understand the impact of delivering evidence-based OA care on Ontarians and the health system.”

Dr. James Waddell, an orthopaedic surgeon who has spent over 30 years completing joint replacement surgery at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto says, “The GLA:D® program is an effective conservative management program that is suitable for individuals who are experiencing mild to severe disease. Early diagnosis and access to the program will improve the lives of many people across Ontario.”

For people participating in GLA:D®, the program plays an important new role in their care regimen. “I’m a 70 year old woman who has been dealing with osteoarthritis for a number of years and this last year I seemed to be having more trouble than normal,” shared recent GLA:D® program participant, Johann Dafoe. “The GLA:D® program has shown me how to manage my discomfort, the proper exercises to strengthen the muscles around the knee and to listen to my body. My hope is to avoid shots or surgery for as long as I can.”

The GLA:D® program is not just for the elderly. In fact, the first symptoms of OA may occur in early adulthood. “OA is not just a disease of the old,” says Dr. Laura Cruz, sports medicine physician. “For many people the cartilage and joint changes cause muscle imbalances in their 30s or 40s particularly with early hip and knee OA. The resultant symptoms reduce their participation in everyday physical activity, including sports. The GLA:D® program addresses these imbalances and focuses on keeping people physically active and involved in their sports longer.”

Through its knowledge translation division, Bone and Joint Canada, the Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation is training and certifying physiotherapists, chiropractors and registered kinesiologists to deliver the program in public and private rehabilitation clinics and wellness centres across the province.

“By participating in the GLA:D® program, people suffering from knee and hip pain have access to an effective program to help them be more proactive with managing their symptoms and discomfort,” said Mark Anunciacion, the first physiotherapist to deliver the GLA:D™ Canada program as part of a pilot research project at Sunnybrook’s Holland Centre. “I’m very proud to be involved with such a needed and helpful treatment program that is accessible to so many and I would encourage my therapist peers to consider becoming GL:AD™ Canada certified so that even more Canadians can benefit from this unique program.”

It is anticipated that the program will provide relief to thousands of OA patients across Ontario within the next three years. The program is already being offered in Alberta and British Columbia, and clinics in Manitoba and New Brunswick will begin delivering the program starting in the fall/winter of 2017. Training for therapists in Newfoundland and Nova Scotia is underway with plans to implement across Canada in 2018.

Health care professionals and patients who are experiencing the symptoms of OA can learn more about the GLA:D™ Canada program, including the locations at

Media Information:
Jacki Nelson Shilletto
416 524 3502

GLA:D Information:
Rhona McGlasson
Executive Director Bone and Joint Canada
647 537 8664