Objectives: To examine the effect of home-based exercise on knee osteoarthritis among Japanese in comparison with that of nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).
Design: An open-labeled, randomized, controlled, multiclinic trial compared home-based quadriceps exercise with NSAIDs. Treatments were basically evaluated after 8 wks and compared with the baseline scores. Outcomes were evaluated with a set of psychometric measurements including the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC), 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36), Japanese Knee Osteoarthritis Measure (JKOM), and pain with the visual analog scale.
Results: A total of 142 patients entered this trial to provide the baseline data. After 21 cases withdrew, the final number analyzed was 121 cases: 63 for the exercise group and 58 for the NSAIDs group. Between these two groups, there was no significant difference in gender, age, body height and weight, body mass index, or each score at baseline. The subjects in both groups showed improvements in all scores at the end of intervention. The difference in improvement rate of each score between the two groups was not statistically significant, though the mean rank score measured with JKOM in the exercise was slightly better than that of the NSAIDs.
Conclusions: Home-based exercise using quadriceps strengthening improves knee osteoarthritis no less than NSAIDs.