Knee osteoarthritis (OA) has a significant negative impact on health-related quality of life (HRQoL). Identification of therapies that improve HRQoL in patients with knee OA may mitigate the clinical, economic, and social burden of this disease. The purpose of this commentary is to report the impact of knee OA on HRQoL, describe the change in HRQoL attributable to common knee OA interventions, and summarize findings from clinical trials of a promising therapy. Nonsurgical therapies do not reliably modify HRQoL in knee OA patients given their general inability to alleviate physical manifestations of OA. Surgical knee OA interventions generally result in good to excellent patient outcomes. However, there are significant barriers to considering surgery, which limits clinical utility. Therapies that most effectively control OA-related pain with a low risk: benefit ratio will likely have the greatest benefit on HRQoL with greater rates of patient adoption. Initial clinical trial findings suggest that less invasive joint unloading implants hold promise in bridging the therapeutic gap between nonsurgical and surgical treatments for the knee OA patient.
Keywords: Intervention; knee; osteoarthritis; pain; quality of life; unloading..