Factors Impacting Benefit of Exercise in Knee OA Identified

Self-reported knee instability, fear of exercise linked to response to therapeutic exercise

FRIDAY, Nov. 2 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with knee osteoarthritis, self-reported knee instability and fear of physical activity correlate with the likelihood of treatment response following a therapeutic exercise program, according to a study published in the November issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

G. Kelley Fitzgerald, P.T., Ph.D., from the University of Pittsburg, and colleagues evaluated 152 patients with knee osteoarthritis to examine how therapeutic exercise-linked changes in physical and psychological factors correlate with changes in pain and function. Participants completed an exercise program incorporating lower extremity strengthening, stretching, range of motion, balance and agility, and aerobic exercises. The association between change from baseline to two-month follow-up in various factors and treatment response (defined as a minimum of 20 percent improvement from baseline) was assessed, after adjustment for potentially confounding variables.

The researchers found that, after adjustment, the only two factors that were significantly associated with treatment response were change in self-reported knee instability (odds ratio, 1.67) and fear of physical activity (odds ratio, 0.93).

"This finding may suggest that methods to improve self-reported knee instability and fear of physical activity might further enhance the effects of therapeutic exercise for patients with knee osteoarthritis who have these problems," the authors write. "Continued work is needed to confirm the associations between changes in physical and psychological factors and treatment response to therapeutic exercise for people with knee osteoarthritis."

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