Chief Investigator: 

Dr John McBeth / Dr Clare Jinks


Prof Carolyn Chew-Graham, Prof Nadine Foster, Prof Elaine Hay, Dr Emma Healey, Prof Tamar Pincus

Study Co-ordinator:

Liz Hartshorne

Sponsor’s protocol number:                    


Funder name / reference no:

Arthritis Research UK / 20608



UKCRN Study portfolio:



Summary of trial:

Study design:

Physical inactivity rates are high in older people (>65 years), a group that will soon constitute 24% of the UK population. Interventions to increase levels of physical activity are therefore required. Walking, a form of moderate physical activity, is particularly acceptable to older people with pain, although interventions to increase walking in this population remain untested. This study aims to design and test a brief and simple intervention to promote walking (iPOPP).

The team has completed phase 1 of the iPOPP study where they worked closely with patients in this age group who suffer with chronic pain and healthcare professionals to refine and agree the components of a simple, brief walking intervention specifically for this population. From this work they have been able to develop a comprehensive training package for local Health Care Assistants who will deliver this intervention in primary care.

The second phase of the study is a pilot randomised controlled trial to which will examine whether the iPOPP walking intervention can be delivered in GP practices by Health Care Assistants and is feasible and acceptable to older adults with chronic pain. 


Primary objective:

1) To refine and agree the content of the iPOPP intervention
2) To develop an iPOPP training programme for health care assistants (HCAs).
3) To undertake a pilot randomised controlled trial to investigate the feasibility and acceptability of the intervention to promote walking, and test trial design and processes. 


1. In the pilot trial participants will be randomly allocated to one of below arms;Control arm: Participants will continue to be managed according to usual primary care, but will be posted a copy of the pain toolkit (http://www.paintoolkit.org) which is a simple information booklet that provides patients with tips and skills to support them to manage their chronic pain.

2. Pedometer arm: Participants will receive a pedometer, a pedometer user guide, a walking diary and the pain toolkit in the post. In addition, these patients will continue to be able to access usual care (as described above).

3. iPOPP intervention arm: Participants will be offered an initial appointment for a face-to-face consultation at their general practice with a trained HCA. At this initial consultation patients will receive a pedometer, the user guide and walking diary (as above) plus a copy of the pain toolkit. Participants will receive a second consultation either face-to-face or via telephone (depending on participant preference) consisting of a review of progress since session one, positive feedback in relation to effort and achievement, and possible revision of goals set. Participants will then receive the 8 weekly motivational prompts which will be in the form of a postcard, email or text. The type of prompt will be based on individual patient preference. Patients allocated to this intervention arm will also continue to be able to access usual care (as described above).