Objective: To assess the effect of a home based exercise programme, designed to improve quadriceps strength, on knee pain and disability.
Methods: 191 men and women with knee pain aged 40-80 were recruited from the community and randomised to exercise (n = 113) or no intervention (n = 78). The exercise group performed strengthening exercises daily for six months. The primary outcome measure was change in knee pain (Western Ontario McMaster Osteoarthritis index (WOMAC)). Secondary measures included visual analogue scales (VAS) for pain on stairs and walking and WOMAC physical function scores.
Results: WOMAC pain score reduced by 22.5% in the exercise group and by 6.2% in the control group (between group difference p < 0.05, unpaired t test). VAS scores for pain also reduced in the exercise group compared with the control group (p < 0.05). Physical function scores reduced by 17.4% in the exercise group and were unchanged in controls (p < 0.05).
Conclusion: A simple programme of home quadriceps exercises can significantly improve self reported knee pain and function.