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Research group/lab

General Practice

We aim to address research questions with clinical relevance for patients and general practitioners in primary care. Our research is mainly focused on (I) musculoskeletal disorders and (II) diseases in children in general practice.

About our research group/lab

Our research

Primary Care
Our research department aims to address research questions with clinical relevance for patients and general practitioners in primary care. We are especially focused and specialized in two main topics namely (I) musculoskeletal disorders and (II) diseases in children in general practice.

Research programs
Our research questions have a direct link to daily clinical practice. We strongly promote an evidence based approach and aim to improve the management of general practitioners for patients with musculoskeletal disorders and for children presenting with frequently occurring diseases in general practice.

Research methods
Our studies are typically designed from a clinical epidemiological perspective and include, for example, large prospective cohort studies, diagnostic studies and randomized clinical trials. We also have considerable expertise in performing systematic reviews and meta-analyses.

Our projects


Prognostic models in patients with neck pain in physiotherapy practice. A cohort study that evaluated usual care manual therapy (MEC-2007-359).

Ankle Osteoarthritis Cohort

To study the association between early radiographic features of ankle osteoarthritis and symptoms.

Bone shape of the patellofemoral joint

Influence of bone shape on patellofemoral pain and osteoarthritis.

CREDO: CRiteria for the Early Diagnosis of Osteoarthritis

Developing and validating diagnostic criteria for early hip and knee osteoarthritis.

Diagnosing hand and wrist pathologies in primary care

Despite the high prevalence of hand and wrist complaints in primary care, there is little knowledge on the accuracy and feasibility of the diagnostic process by general practitioners.

Diagnosis and treatment of spinal osteoarthritis in patients with back pain

The large majority of patients with back pain are labelled as having ‘non-specific’ back pain, but within this group there may be different subgroups of patients, e.g. those with symptomatic spinal osteoarthritis, who may respond differently to different treatments. To better understand this entity and provide better care for these patients, criteria for the diagnoses of structural and symptomatic spinal osteoarthritis for research and clinical purposes need to be established. Furthermore, the knowledge gap in spinal OA diagnosis among general practioners needs to be identified and possibly filled.

DOERAK study: Children with obesity in primary care

DOERAK is a prospective cohort study with 2 year follow-up of 733 children in primary care to gain more insight in childhood obesity in primary care.

DUO trial

Duloxetine for chronic osteoarthritis pain; an important alternative?


The FOCUM human disease model for development of osteoarthritis.

GP eHealth Framework

A framework for evaluating eHealth technologies before implementation in general practice: a Delphi study.

GRIP: Gout Research In Primary Care

The study of risk factors and treatment of gout in primary care.

Growing up: the influence of lifestyle on joint health

A population based study examining associations between lifestyle factors and the presence of structural abnormalities in the pediatric lumbar spine.

Heel pain in children

A cohort study among children with Sever’s Disease in podiatry practice.

Hip complaints predictive of osteoarthritis

The course of hip complaints predictive of osteoarthritis in primary care.


Identification of the female specific etiology and risk groups for osteoarthritis.

KIS: Knee osteoarthritis Injection Study

The study is a randomized controlled two-parallel-groups trial in patients with knee OA from general practice, assessing the non-inferiority of an intramuscular (IM) gluteal glucocorticoid injection compared to an intra-articular (IA) glucocorticoid knee injection at four weeks follow-up. We hypothesize that IM gluteal glucocorticoid injection is non-inferior to IA glucocorticoid injection in reducing knee pain 4 weeks after injection. The effect of treatment will be evaluated by questionnaires at 2, 4, 8, 12, and 24 weeks after injection. Statistical analysis will be based on both the intention-to-treat and the per-protocol principle.


Development of a Minimal Intervention Strategy (MIS) for the management of children with overweight and obesity in general practice: a pilot-study.

Lifestyle Intervention Trial in Early knee osteoarthritis (LITE)

The (cost-)effectiveness of a combined lifestyle intervention in overweight and obese patients with knee osteoarthritis in primary care.

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Meniscus pathologies in knee osteoarthritis development

By using the data from the PROOF and Rotterdam study, we aim to analyze different meniscus characteristics and pathologies, like meniscus volume, extrusion, and tears and their role in knee osteoarthritis development. We will also perform osteoarthritis animal models to study meniscus pathology mechanisms.

Mental health of children and adolescents in general practice

A retrospective cohort study into the prevalence, time trends and management of mental health problems, and associated conditions, in children and adolescents in primary care.

MIS opioids: Minimal intervention strategy to de-implement opioid use

Development of a minimal intervention strategy (MIS) for de-implementing long lasting opioid use in primary care.

Musculoskeletal problems in children and adolescents

Gain more insight in the prevalence, incidence, management and long-term outcomes of musculoskeletal complaints in children and adolescents.

OA Trial Bank

The OA Trial Bank: subgroup meta-analyses with individual patient data in osteoarthritis patients.

Optimizing healthcare for knee and hip osteoarthritis

Evaluation of intermediate care of hip and knee osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis and comorbidities

To determine which chronic conditions are associated with osteoarthritis, to investigate the causality between osteoarthritis and its comorbidities and to calculate their impact.

Primary care for children in Rotterdam

What medical complaints do children present with in general practice and how are these related to socio-economic factors including exposure to air pollution.

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Reducing antibiotics for treating urinary tract infections

A project aimed at reducing antibiotic prescriptions for uncomplicated urinary tract infections in general practice, by promoting a wait and see approach for the first week of symptoms.


The SIX (Shoulder Injection and eXercise) study is a clinical study for the treatment of persistent shoulder pain in primary care.

SPRiNG: Starting Strong in Nursing

A cohort study investigating dropout and musculoskeletal complaints in nursing students.

SPRINT study: Injury prevention in runners

The next step towards the prevention of running related injuries: further development of a prevention program for recreational runners.

Drawing logo STAP study

STAP study: Soles as Treatment Against Pain in feet

A RCT in patients with plantar heel pain assessing the (cost)effectiveness of custom insoles by a podiatrist, compared to sham and usual care by the GP.

The Rotterdam Asthma Trial

Protocolled practice nurse-led care for children 6-12 years with asthma in primary care. Primary objective of the study is to determine the effect of protocolled practice nurse-led asthma care for children aged 6 to 12 years old in primary care on asthma control (compared to usual care).

Drawing logo Eczemastudy

The Rotterdam Eczema study

Effectiveness of different strenghts of topical steroids in children with eczema in general practice.

TRAPP: Treatment of acute lateral ankle sprains in general practice

Multi-center open labeled randomized trial examining the effectiveness of an unsupervised neuromuscular training program in combination with usual care in general practice compared to usual care alone in patients with acute lateral ankle sprains.

Work-related musculoskeletal disorders of the limbs

Physical and psychosocial work-related risk factors for the development of musculoskeletal disorders of the limbs.

Key Publications

The publication list General Practice for 2020 can be found here.


Musculoskeletal disorders in primary care

The research line musculoskeletal disorders has a strong collaboration with the Department of Internal Medicine, the Department of Orthopedics, the Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, and the Department of Epidemiology and Statistics; all with respect to the osteoarthritis research. This research also is firmly embedded in the ACE Bone & Joint which is coordinated by prof Bierma-Zeinstra. For sports-injuries, and musculoskeletal disorders in children and adolescents we cooperate mainly with the Department of Orthopedics, and the Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine; this research also belongs to the ACE Bone and Joint. For the spinal research there is a strong collaboration with the Department of Anesthesiology-Pain Medicine, and Neurosurgery. This research is embedded in the spine ACE, and the ACE Pain. 

Common childhood illnesses in general practice

The research line disorders in children cooperates with departments within Sophia Child Hospital especially in the fields of allergy, long diseases and dermatology. We participate in the ACE Gezond Gewicht (healthy weight) and the ACE Allergy. Recently we started collaboration with IMERR (the Institute for Medical Education Research Rotterdam) in relation to our new research program within the field of Education.

Funding & Grants

Reuma NL
European Union
Erasmus MC
Fonds Achterstandswijken

Our team

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