Recommendations for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis, using various therapy techniques, based on categorizations of a literature review

J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2009;32(1):33-8. doi: 10.1519/00139143-200932010-00007.


Purpose: This literature review is to evaluate current research articles pertinent to physical therapy treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee. Osteoarthritis of the knee is an increasingly common diagnosis, with a prognosis that can lead to loss in an individual's functional abilities. Literature on the subject of OA and its physical therapy treatment is vast and current, however, obtaining and analyzing it can be time consuming and costly to a Physical Therapist. The primary aim of this paper is to review current trends for treatment of OA of the knee, and to compare each intervention for effectiveness. This article provides a systematic categorization as well as recommendations for physical therapists based on current (1996 or sooner) literature.

Methods: Twenty-two articles were located using various online databases, critically analyzed, and categorized using Sackett's levels of evidence. Recommendations for the treatment of OA of the knee by a physical therapist were then made.

Results: Two grade A recommendations, 5 grade B recommendation, and 2 grade C recommendations were made from the categorization of the articles. This article also contains recommendations outside the scope of a therapist's practice, which a physical therapist could consider when treating a patient with knee osteoarthritis. Further research recommendations are also provided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / rehabilitation*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*