The hard work of self-management: Living with chronic knee pain

Bie Nio Ong, Clare Jinks, Andrew Morden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Self-management is a key policy initiative in many western countries, and most approaches are designed for people with long-term conditions based upon giving support and advice in order to manage the impact of the condition(s). Less attention has been paid to what people already do themselves. In this paper we focus on the meaning and enactment of self-management in everyday life and the hard work associated with devising and maintaining routine adaptive strategies. This UK-based qualitative study examined how people live with knee pain. From the interviews (22 at baseline, 15 at 6 months) and monthly diaries, it emerged that self-management could be based on implicit and incremental learning from experience or on explicit evaluation of actions. Either way, embodied and emotional hard work was involved in maintaining a daily life that allowed people to fulfil social roles and relationships. This individual and contextualised work needs to be recognised and drawn upon before specific self-management approaches are promoted.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Qualitative Studies on Health and Well-being
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011

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