OBJECTIVE. Adults with osteoarthritis (OA) experience fatigue in daily life that is negatively related to physical activity; however, it is unclear how task demands affect fatigue and occupational performance. We examined effects of a cognitive task on subsequent symptoms and activity.
METHOD. Adults with knee or hip OA completed a standardized cognitive task during a lab visit. Objective physical activity and symptoms were tracked during two home-monitoring periods (i.e., 4-day period before and 5-day period after the lab visit). Multilevel modeling was used to compare pretask with posttask fatigue, pain, and activity levels.
RESULTS. Fatigue increased and pain decreased for 2 days after performing the lab task. The authors found no pretask to posttask changes in activity levels. At posttask, daily fatigue and activity patterns changed relative to baseline.
CONCLUSION. For adults with symptomatic OA, cognitive task demands may be an important contributor to fatigue and pain.