Combination Approach Found to Aid Knee Osteoarthritis

Middle-aged patients in early stages of disease benefit from strength training and self-care
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Both strength training and self-management are helpful to treat middle-aged patients with early knee osteoarthritis, according to a study published in the Jan. 15 issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Patrick E. McKnight, Ph.D., of George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and colleagues conducted a study of 273 physically inactive middle-aged adults with knee osteoarthritis who were in pain and reported physical disability. In a trial that spanned two years, the participants were randomized to a program of strength training, self-management, or a combination of the two.

The authors note that 201 participants (73.6 percent) completed the trial, with 55.8 percent compliance for the strength training, 69.1 percent for self-management, and 59.6 percent for the combined program. All of the measures of physical function improved for all three groups, including leg press, range of motion, work capacity, balance and stair climbing, as did measures of self-reported pain and disability.

"Middle-aged, sedentary persons with mild early knee osteoarthritis benefited from strength training, self-management, and the combination program. These results suggest that both strength training and self-management are suitable treatments for the early onset of knee osteoarthritis in middle-aged adults. Self-management alone may offer the least burdensome treatment for early osteoarthritis," McKnight and colleagues conclude.

One author reported owning stock options in Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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