Knee osteoarthritis shows sustained improvement with land-based therapeutic exercise

Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals. Access to the full content of this site is available only to registered healthcare professionals.
Takeaway
  • Among people with knee osteoarthritis, land-based therapeutic exercise provides short-term benefit that is sustained for at least 2-6 months after cessation.


Key results

  • Pooled results from 44 trials indicated that exercise significantly reduced pain (12/100 points; 95% CI 10-15) and improved physical function (10/100 points; 95% CI 8-13) to a moderate degree immediately after treatment.
  • Evidence from 13 studies revealed that exercise significantly improved quality of life immediately after treatment with small effect (4/100 points; 95% CI 2-5). 
  • 12 studies showed significantly reduced knee pain 2-6 months after cessation of formal exercise programmes (6/100 points; 95% CI 3-9). 
  • 10 studies showed improved physical function 2-6 months post-treatment (3/100 points; 95% CI 1-5).


Study design

  • Systematic review and meta-analysis of 54 randomized clinical trials comparing some form of land-based therapeutic exercise with a non-exercise control identified from five electronic databases up to May 2013. 
  • Three teams of two review authors independently extracted data and assessed risk of bias for each study. 
  • Standardised mean differences immediately after treatment and 2-6 months after cessation of formal treatment were separately pooled using a random effects model.