High-Dose Exercise No Better Than Low-Dose Exercise for Knee Osteoarthritis

High-dose therapy is not superior for most outcomes, except for the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for function in sports and recreation
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 25, 2023 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with knee osteoarthritis, high-dose exercise therapy is not superior to low-dose exercise therapy for most outcomes, according to a study published online Jan. 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Tom Arild Torstensen, R.P.T., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues compared high-dose and low-dose exercise therapy with respect to knee function, pain, and quality of life in a randomized superiority trial involving patients with long-term symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. A total of 189 patients were assigned to high-dose therapy (11 exercises; 70 to 90 minutes; 98 participants) or low-dose therapy (five exercises; 20 to 30 minutes; 91 participants).

The researchers observed improvement in both groups over time; in most comparisons, there were no benefits seen for high-dose therapy. One exception was in the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score for function in sports and recreation, with superiority noted for high-dose therapy at the end of treatment and at six-month follow-up. There was also a small benefit seen in quality of life at six and 12 months.

"The results from this superiority trial did not support our hypothesis that high-dose exercise is superior to low-dose exercise," the authors write. "This study adds to the evidence about the effects of exercise dosage on outcomes in knee osteoarthritis and provides novel and important information."

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