Question: Is four weeks of home-based balance training more effective than four weeks of home-based strength training at decreasing pain in patients with knee osteoarthritis?
Design: Randomised trial with concealed allocation and assessor blinding.
Participants: 48 community volunteers with knee osteoarthritis.
Intervention: Two groups undertook home-based exercise programs: one group performed balance training and the other performed strength training. Participants performed 30 repetitions/leg/day, 5 days/week for four weeks.
Outcome measures: The Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score was used to evaluate pain, which was the primary outcome. Secondary outcomes were the other subscales of the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (other symptoms, function in daily living, function in sport and recreation, knee-related quality of life), strength, and mobility.
Results: There was no significant difference between groups for pain (mean difference -3 points out of 100, 95% CI -10 to 5). The only between-group difference in the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score was in knee-related quality of life, where the strength group improved 17 points out of 100 (95% CI 5 to 28) more than the balance group. There was no significant difference between groups for strength. The only between-group difference in mobility was in the time taken to walk downstairs, where the strength group improved by 2 s (95% CI 0 to 3) more than the balance group.
Conclusion: There was no difference in pain between home-based strength training and home-based balance training in patients with knee osteoarthritis.
Trial registration: NCT 00687726.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00687726.