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Home based exercise programme for knee pain and knee osteoarthritis: randomised controlled trial

Thomas, KS; Muir, KR; Doherty, Michael; Jones, AC; O'Reilly, SC; Bassey, EJ


KS Thomas

KR Muir

Michael Doherty

AC Jones

SC O'Reilly

EJ Bassey


Objectives To determine whether a home based
exercise programme can improve outcomes in
patients with knee pain.
Design Pragmatic, factorial randomised controlled
trial of two years' duration.
Setting Two general practices in Nottingham.
Participants 786 men and women aged >45 years
with self reported knee pain.
Interventions Participants were randomised to four
groups to receive exercise therapy, monthly telephone
contact, exercise therapy plus telephone contact, or no
intervention. Patients in the no intervention and
combined exercise and telephone groups were
randomised to receive or not receive a placebo health
food tablet.
Main outcome measures Primary outcome was self
reported score for knee pain on the Western Ontario
and McMaster universities (WOMAC) osteoarthritis
index at two years. Secondary outcomes included
knee specific physical function and stiffness (scored on
WOMAC index), general physical function (scored on
SF­36 questionnaire), psychological outlook (scored
on hospital anxiety and depression scale), and
isometric muscle strength.
Results 600 (76.3%) participants completed the study.
At 24 months, highly significant reductions in knee
pain were apparent for the pooled exercise groups
compared with the non­exercise groups (mean
difference –0.82, 95% confidence interval –1.3 to
–0.3). Similar improvements were observed at 6, 12,
and 18 months. Regular telephone contact alone did
not reduce pain. The reduction in pain was greater
the closer patients adhered to the exercise plan.
Conclusions A simple home based exercise
programme can significantly reduce knee pain. The
lack of improvement in patients who received only
telephone contact suggests that improvements are not
just due to psychosocial effects because of contact
with the therapist.


Thomas, K., Muir, K., Doherty, M., Jones, A., O'Reilly, S., & Bassey, E. (2002). Home based exercise programme for knee pain and knee osteoarthritis: randomised controlled trial

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Oct 5, 2002
Deposit Date Mar 20, 2008
Publicly Available Date Mar 20, 2008
Journal Britich Medical Journal (BMJ)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 325
Issue 7367
Public URL