Background: The Osteoarthritis Research Society International recommended that nonpharmacological methods include patient education programs, weight reduction, coping strategies, and exercise programs for the management of knee osteoarthritis (OA). However, neither a systematic review nor a meta-analysis has been published regarding the effectiveness of home exercise programs for the management of knee OA.
Purpose: The purpose of this systematic review was to examine the evidence regarding the effect of home exercise programs with and without supervised clinic-based exercises in the management of knee OA.
Methods: We searched PubMed, CINAHL, Embase, Scopus, and PEDro for research articles published prior to September 2014 using key words such as pain, exercise, home exercise program, rehabilitation, supervised exercise program, and physiotherapy in combination with Medical Subject Headings "Osteoarthritis knee." We selected randomized and case-controlled trials published in English language. To verify the quality of the selected studies, we applied the PEDro Scale. Two evaluators individually selected the studies based on titles, excluding those articles that were not related to the objectives of this review. One evaluator extracted data from the included studies. A second evaluator independently verified extracted data for accuracy.
Results: A total of 31 studies were found in the search. Of these, 19 studies met the inclusion criteria and were further analyzed. Seventeen of these 19 studies reached high methodological quality on the PEDro scale. Although the methods and home exercise program interventions varied widely in these studies, most found significant improvements in pain and function in individuals with knee OA.
Discussions: The analysis indicated that both home exercise programs with and without supervised clinic-based exercises were beneficial in the management of knee OA.
Conclusions: The large evidence of high-quality trials supports the effectiveness of home exercise programs with and without supervised clinic-based exercises in the rehabilitation of knee OA. In addition, small but growing evidence supports the effectiveness of other types of exercise such as tai chi, balance, and proprioceptive training for individuals with knee OA.