The aim of this systematic review was to determine if manual therapy improves pain and/or physical function in people with hip or knee OA. Eight databases were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs). Data were extracted and risk of bias assessed by independent reviewers. Four RCTs were eligible for inclusion (280 subjects), three of which studied people with knee OA and one studied those with hip OA. One study compared manual therapy to no treatment, one compared to placebo intervention, whilst two compared to alternative interventions. Meta-analysis was not possible due to clinical heterogeneity of the studies. One study had a low risk of bias and three had high risk of bias. All studies reported short-term effects, and long-term effects were measured in one study. There is silver level evidence that manual therapy is more effective than exercise for those with hip OA in the short and long-term. Due to the small number of RCTs and patients, this evidence could be considered to be inconclusive regarding the benefit of manual therapy on pain and function for knee or hip OA.
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