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The SOAR (Stop OsteoARthritis) Clinical trial: Preventing ‘old knees’ in young people



Scientific study title:

The Stop Osteoarthritis (SOAR) Hybrid Effectiveness-Implementation Type 1 Randomized Controlled Trial for Young People at-High-Risk of Early Onset Knee Osteoarthritis


Study Start Date:

June 2024


Study End Date:

May 2028


Why do this research?

Many young Canadians who hurt their knees playing sports are at risk of developing osteoarthritis (OA) at a young age. Osteoarthritis can cause pain and disability, making it hard to work, take care of family, and enjoy life. The Stop OsteoARthritis (SOAR) program offers a new way to help prevent OA through education and exercise. By testing how well this program works compared to usual care, the study aims to find a way to keep people’s knees healthy and reduce the impact of OA on their lives and the healthcare system.

What will be done?

In this study, young people who have had knee surgery after tearing their ACL will be divided into two groups. One group will follow the SOAR program, which includes online education sessions, personalized home exercise plans, and regular check-ins with a physiotherapist. The other group will receive a more independent education and exercise program for comparison. Researchers will measure participants’ knee health (including MRIs), pain levels, and quality of life over time to see if the SOAR program helps prevent the early onset of osteoarthritis and improves their overall well-being.


Who is involved?

A variety of Canadian arthritis researchers are involved in this project including physiotherapists, medical doctors, economists, statisticians, graduate students and patient partners from Arthritis Research Canada.



How are Equity, Diversity and Inclusion addressed or taken into consideration?

Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tears are endemic in female sport, with female athletes at 2- 6x higher risk than male athletes. Females also have worse knee symptoms and 25% lower odds of returning to sport after an ACL tear compared to males. This contributes to females being 2-3x more inactive and making up two-thirds of people with knee osteoarthritis. This inequity of knee health, starts in adolescence (most common age for ACL tears) and continues across the lifespan. Currently, little is known about the biological and cultural reasons for this disparity.

To address this, the research team will recruit equal numbers of female and male participants by targeting sports groups with high ACL tear rates based on gender preferences. The team also plans to also explore how gender identity and biological sex influence how participants do with the two education and exercise programs. To facilitate socioeconomic and gender diversity, we will partner with non-profit organizations providing inclusive sports access.



Principal Investigator: 

Jackie Whittaker, BScPT, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada (University of British Columbia)


Alex Brooks-Hill, BPHE, MD, (University of British Columbia)
Jennifer Davis, UBCO, PhD, (University of British Columbia – Okanagan)
Alison Hoens, BScPT, MSc, Knowledge Broker, Arthritis Research Canada (University of British Columbia)
Michael Hunt, PT PhD, (University of British Columbia)
Linda Li, BSc(PT), MSc, PhD, FCAHS, Senior Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada (University of British Columbia)
Justin Losciale, DPT, SCS, PhD Candidate, (Supervisor: Jackie Whittaker) Trainee, Arthritis Research Canada (University of British Columbia)
Maxi Miciak, PT, PhD, (University of Alberta)
Amber Mosewich, PhD, (University of Alberta)
Ewa Roos, PT, PhD, (University of Southern Denmark)
Adnan Sheikh, MD, (University of British Columbia)
Linda Truong, BScKIN, MPT, PhD (University of British Columbia)
David Wilson, PhD, (University of British Columbia)
Hui Xie, BSc, MS, PhD, Research Scientist, Arthritis Research Canada (Simon Fraser University)


Candice Archibald, Karin Kausky, Angelina Ko, Dominic Wade

Trish Silvester-Lee, Patient Partner, Arthritis Research Canada Arthritis Patient Advisory Board member



Funding Agency

Canadian Institutes of Health Research and The Arthritis Society