Background Osteoartritis (OA) is one of the most frequent causes of pain, loss of function and disability in adults (1,2). The prevalence of OA is expected to increase substantially in the future (1). Knee osteoarthritis is the most common subset of OA (2). Therapeutic ultrasound (US) is one of several physical therapy modalities suggested for the management of pain and loss of function due to OA (3).
Objectives The purpose of our study was to investigate the efficacy of US therapy in reducing pain and functional loss and improving the quality of life in patients with knee osteoarthritis in comparison to sham ultrasound therapy.
Methods The study involved 62 patients. The patients were randomly divided into two groups. The patients in Group 1 (n=30) were administered 1 Watt/cm2, 1 MHz continuous US, and the patients in Group 2 (n=32) were administered sham US. The ultrasound treatment was applied for 8 min to each knee, 16 min in total, 5 days a week, for a total of 10 sessions during two weeks. The patients were evaluated immediately after treatment and 1 month after therapy according to VAS, night pain, EHA, morning stiffness, WOMAC, Lequesne and SF-36 scales, and 6 min walking distance.
Results Improvement in pain and joint functions was observed in both groups according to the evaluation immediately after treatment and at 1 month after the therapy. According to the evaluation results immediately after treatment; there was significant improvement in all pain scales (VAS, WOMAC, Lequesne, SF-36), morning stiffness and 6 min walking distance in patients receiving real US treatment (p<0.05) but only in some pain scales (VAS, WOMAC) and functions in the group receiving sham US (p<0.05). Significantly better improvement was observed in some pain scales (SF-36), functions (WOMAC, SF-36) and 6 min walking distance in the real US group. At 1 month after therapy, no significant difference was observed between groups except for improvement in night pain in real US group.
Conclusions This study comfirms that US therapy is effective to improve physical function, in reducing pain and also it is a reliable method. Short term efficacy of US is superior to plasebo, on the other hand long term effect is not different from placebo. The results can provide guidance regarding the organization of the treatment of the patient with knee OA. Further systematic investigation is needed with larger group of patients.
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Zhang C, Xie Y, Luo X, Ji Q, Lu C, He C et al. Effects of therapeutic ultrasound on pain, physical functions and safety outcomes in patients with knee osteoarthritis: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Clin Rehabil. 2015 Oct 8.
Disclosure of Interest None declared