Exercise, education, manual-therapy and taping compared to education for patellofemoral osteoarthritis: a blinded, randomised clinical trial

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2015 Sep;23(9):1457-64. doi: 10.1016/j.joca.2015.04.024. Epub 2015 May 7.


Objective: Patellofemoral joint osteoarthritis (PFJ OA) contributes considerably to knee OA symptoms. This study aimed to determine the efficacy of a PFJ-targeted exercise, education manual-therapy and taping program compared to OA education alone, in participants with PFJ OA.

Methods: A randomised, participant-blinded and assessor-blinded clinical trial was conducted in primary-care physiotherapy. 92 people aged ≥40 years with symptomatic and radiographic PFJ OA participated. Physiotherapists delivered the PFJ-targeted exercise, education, manual-therapy and taping program, or the OA-education (control condition) in eight sessions over 12 weeks. Primary outcomes at 3-month (primary) and 9-month follow-up: (1) patient-perceived global rating of change (2) pain visual analogue scale (VAS) (100 mm); and (3) activities of daily living (ADL) subscale of the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS).

Results: 81 people (88%) completed the 3-month follow-up and data analysed on an intention-to-treat basis. Between-group baseline similarity for participant characteristics was observed. The exercise, education, manual-therapy and taping program resulted in more people reporting much improvement (20/44) than the OA-education group (5/48) (number needed to treat 3 (95% confidence interval (CI) 2 to 5)) and greater pain reduction (mean difference: -15.2 mm, 95% CI -27.0 to -3.4). No significant effects on ADL were observed (5.8; 95% CI -0.6 to 12.1). At 9 months there were no significant effects for self-report of improvement, pain (-10.5 mm, 95% CI -22.7 to 1.8) or ADL (3.0, 95% CI -3.7 to 9.7).

Conclusion: Exercise, education, manual-therapy and taping can be recommended to improve short-term patient rating of change and pain severity. However over 9-months, both options were equivalent.

Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (ACTRN12608000288325): https://www.anzctr.org.au/Trial/Registration/TrialReview.aspx?id=82878.

Keywords: Exercise-therapy; Knee; Patella; Physiotherapy; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Athletic Tape
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Musculoskeletal Manipulations*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Patient Outcome Assessment

Associated data

  • ANZCTR/ACTRN12608000288325