Self-management programs and strength training regimens can help patients suffering from the early stages of osteoarthritis, says a new report titled Multidimensional Intervention for Early Osteoarthritis of the Knee.
The study, conducted at the University of Arizona Arthritis center over the course of 24 months, had 273 participants. The trial compared the effects of strength training regimens, self-management programs, and a combination of the two.
All participants were between the ages of 35 and 65, diagnosed with osteoarthritis, and had been sufferers of knee pain for less than five years. The first group of participants underwent a strength training regimen over the course of nine months, focusing on improving muscle strength, range of motion, flexibility, and balance. The second group concentrated on developing long-term exercise habits, with professional education and treatment advice. The third group participated in both strength training and self-management.
201 of the 273 participants completed the full two-year trial. There was little difference in the outcomes of the three groups, but all three showed marked improvement in many categories. Self-reported pain was decreased across the board, and physical function test scores improved for all three groups. The lack of a difference between the three groups suggests “similar benefits for all three over a two-year period,” said Patrick McKnight, lead author of the study.
These results suggest that sufferers of osteoarthritis should make an effort in the early stages of the disease to undergo strength training or some method of self-management program. By taking a proactive approach to the affliction, sufferers of osteoarthritis may be able to delay the need for total joint replacement surgery.