Perceptions of Stigma Associated with Chronic Knee Pain: Voices of Selected Women in Thailand and Malaysia

Danes-Daetz, Claudia, Wainwright, John Peter orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-8190-0144, Goh, Siew Li, McGuire, Kim orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2713-8846, Sinsurin, Komsak, Richards, James orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-4004-3115 and Chohan, Ambreen orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-0544-7832 (2024) Perceptions of Stigma Associated with Chronic Knee Pain: Voices of Selected Women in Thailand and Malaysia. Physiotherapy Theory and Practice . ISSN 0959-3985

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Introduction A higher prevalence of knee pain in Southeast Asian countries, compared with non-Asian countries, is an established fact. This article hypothesizes that this fact, combined with personal, cultural, and environmental factors, may influence attitudes towards illness and treatment-seeking behaviour and adherence.
Objective This study aimed to determine current attitudes, stigma, and barriers of women to the management of chronic knee pain and treatment in two Southeast Asian countries.
Methods Fourteen semi-structured interviews explored female lived perceptions of chronic knee pain in Southeast Asia. Using a phenomenological reduction process, open-ended questions allowed participants to voice their perceptions of their experience of this knee condition. Particular foci were potential stigma associated with the perceptions of others, health-seeking attitudes, and attitudes towards exercise.
Results The shared experiences of managing chronic knee pain revealed the impact of their condition on participants' normality of life and their struggles with pain, limitations, and fear for the future. Key individual, interpersonal, organisational and community barriers and facilitators impacted the health seeking attitudes and engagement with conservative rehabilitation programmes.
Conclusion Improved socio-cultural competency and consideration for an individuals’ intersectional identity and interpersonal relationships are key to designing rehabilitation and conservative management solutions. Co-creating alternative pathways for rehabilitation for individuals that are more distant from health facilities may help reduce socio-cultural barriers at a community level.

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