Background: Knee osteoarthritis has a lifetime risk of nearly one in two, with obese individuals being most susceptible. While exercise is universally recognized as a critical component for management, unsafe or ineffective exercise frequently leads to exacerbation of joint symptoms.
Aim: Evaluate the effect of a 12week lower body positive pressure (LBPP) supported low-load treadmill walking program on knee pain, joint function, and performance of daily activities in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA).
Design: Prospective, observational, repeated measures investigation.
Setting: Community based, multidisciplinary musculoskeletal medicine clinic.
Patients: Thirty-one patients, aged 50-75, with a BMI ≥25kg/m2 and radiographic confirmed mild to moderate knee OA.
Intervention: Twelve week LBPP treadmill walking exercise regimen.
Outcome measures: The Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) and the Canadian Occupational Performance Measure (COPM) were used to quantify joint symptoms and patient function; isokinetic thigh muscle strength was evaluated; and a 10-point VAS was used to quantify acute knee pain while walking. Baseline and follow-up data were compared in order to examine the effect of the 12week exercise intervention.
Results: There was a significant difference between baseline and follow-up data: KOOS and COPM scores both improved; thigh muscle strength increased; and acute knee pain during full weight bearing walking diminished significantly.
Conclusions: Participation in a 12week LBPP supported treadmill walking exercise regimen significantly enhanced patient function and quality of life, as well as the ability to perform activities of daily living that patient's self-identified as being important, yet difficult to perform.
Keywords: Activities of daily living; Exercise; Knee osteoarthritis; Lower body positive pressure (LBPP); Pain.
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