The Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) is one of the most common tool therapists use to evaluate knee or hip osteoarthritis (OA) in both research and clinical settings. As the name suggests, the WOMAC index was developed jointly by Western University and McMaster University in the 1982. The questionnaire is being translated into over a 100 alternate-language forms and it is now being used around the globe.
The WOMAC index itself consists of 24 questions, with three subcategories measuring pain, stiffness, and physical functions of individuals with hip or knee OA. The WOMAC index is a self-administered questionnaire, which means patients can complete the questionnaire on their own.
The WOMAC is a quick and easy tool, requiring only a pen and 5-10 minutes to complete. Once completed, it aids the therapists to form a clear clinical picture of the disease severity prior to the first treatment. And it is used again near the end of the treatment course to reassess treatment effectiveness.
The therapists will then add up the scores in all three categories, with higher scores indicating worse symptoms and functional limitations.
For individuals who have OA, we hope that this article can help you get familiarize to what you will expect during the treatment. And for other clinicians, we hope that this article serves as an introduction to a validated assessment tool that you can add into your toolbox!