Background Knee osteoarthritis (KOA) is one of the major health problems, the clinical features as pain, muscular weakness, restricted range of motion and joint deformity leading to disability and poor quality of life. In our clinic we used ultrasound (UUS) to patients with various musculoskeletal conditions for reducing pain, edema, increase flexibility of connective tissues and joint mobility.
Objectives In this randomized clinical trial we investigated the effectiveness of combined therapeutic ultrasound and isotonic exercises to patients with KOA from Emergency County Hospital Craiova, Department of Rehabilitation.
Methods 35 subjects diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis (Kellgren-Lawrence grade 1-3 disease) were randomly assigned in two groups: 17 patients to Exercise Group (EG) followed an isotonic muscular strengthening exercises program and the others 18 patients to Ultrasound Group (UG) who received isotonic exercises combined with therapeutic ultrasound (0.5 W/cm2, 5 min.), three times/week for 6 weeks. The assessments were made at baseline and at the completion of the study using a pain visual analogue scale, knee range of motion and Lequesne index.
Results The baseline characteristics were the same in both groups, mean age 64.0±3.7years and 75% female. The pain scores on VAS were initially similar but patients in UG showed a greater decrease of pain degree after 6 weeks of treatment (43% vs. 28.3%). On the beginning of the study the average knee flexion did not markedly differ between groups, but it increased significantly in ultrasound group after treatment (12º vs. 6º). At the end of the study the mean scores on Lequesne index decreased significantly only to patients who received ultrasound combined with exercises (ΔLequesne index 2.7 vs. 1.4).
Conclusions Ultrasound is a useful physical modality that combined with kinesytherapy may leads to better results on pain, range of motion and disability to patients with knee osteoarthritis.
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Disclosure of Interest None Declared