Physiotherapy in knee osteoarthrosis: effect on pain and walking

Physiother Res Int. 1996;1(2):89-97. doi: 10.1002/pri.6120010205.


Patients with knee osteoarthrosis are often referred for physiotherapy and many different types of treatment are given. The value of many of these treatments has been questioned. This study was intended to evaluate the effect of commonly used physiotherapy treatments in a training programme on patients with medial knee osteoarthrosis, scheduled for surgery. The results from this study also provide useful data for further evaluation of different physiotherapy treatments to this patient group. Thirty-four patients were randomised to physiotherapy three times a week for 5 weeks and the other 34 received no treatment. The training programme is described in detail. The patients were evaluated by clinical examination, step test, gait analysis and isokinetic measurements of thigh muscle strength before and after treatment. The patients in the treatment group experienced a feeling of overall improvement in the knee and the ability to descend steps improved when compared to the control group. There were no significant differences in gait, range of motion or isokinetic measurements of muscle strength between the groups. We conclude that physiotherapy as given here made our patients feel better and their ability to descend stairs improved. These improvements are beneficial to the patients and support the positive effects of exercises and activity. Whilst the objective improvements were small, suggesting that this treatment may not be justified, patients in the treatment group believed that they were improved.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Exercise Therapy / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Isotonic Contraction
  • Knee Joint*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis / classification
  • Osteoarthritis / complications
  • Osteoarthritis / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis / rehabilitation*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Range of Motion, Articular
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Walking*