Objective: The purpose of this study was to analyze the biochemical changes in the joint fluid, and pain relief resulting from isometric quadriceps exercise in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee.
Design: Nineteen osteoarthritic knees in 17 patients with joint effusion were included. The patients performed isometric quadriceps exercise for 3 months. Isometric muscle torque at 30 and 60 degrees flexion, pain as measured using the visual analog scale and biochemical markers in joint fluid were evaluated before and after the exercise.
Results: Pain score decreased from 3.9 to 2.3 after 12 weeks of exercise (P<0.001). Extension torque at 30 and 60 degrees knee flexion significantly increased from 4.7 to 6.9 kgm (47% increase, P<0.001) and from 10.8 to 12.6 kgm (17% increase, P<0.005) after 12 weeks of exercise. The molecular weight of hyaluronan increased from 2.11 to 2.40x10(6)(P<0.05) and the viscosity of joint fluid increased from 45.8 to 59.8 mPas after 12 weeks of exercise (P<0.05). Chondroitin 4-, 6-sulfate concentration in joint fluid decreased from 81.9 to 75.5 nmol/ml (P<0.05).
Conclusions: Isometric quadriceps exercise resulted in significant changes in joint fluid biochemical parameters, and these changes, at least in part, may explain the ameliorative effect of muscle exercise for osteoarthritis of the knee.