Adjunctive therapies in addition to land-based exercise therapy for osteoarthritis of the hip or knee

Osteoarthritis is a chronic degenerative condition that commonly affects hip and knee joints. It causes pain and difficulty in daily life activities such as walking.

Land-based exercise therapy is recommended in clinical guidelines for hip or knee osteoarthritis.

The aim of this review was to find out if adding additional therapies to land-based exercise therapy improved pain, function, quality of life, and changes in X-ray in people with hip or knee osteoarthritis.

Sixty-two trials involving a total of 6,508 patients were included in this review. Electrophysical agents, manual therapies, acupuncture, dry needling, psychological therapies, dietary interventions, or whole-body vibration were identified as additional therapies.

Comparing adjunctive therapies plus land-based exercise therapy against placebo therapies plus exercise up to six months (short-term), the authors found low-certainty evidence for reduced pain and function evaluated with a numerical pain rating scale and the Western Ontario and McMaster (WOMAC) scale. The results are not clinically important. Also, no benefit was found in the quality-of-life assessment between groups.

The authors’ research leads to the conclusion that there is moderate- to low-certainty evidence regarding pain and physical function of quality of life between adjunctive therapies and placebo adjunctive therapies.

Sara Laxe