The benefits of exercise in mild and moderate knee or hip osteoarthritis (OA) are apparent, but the evidence in severe OA is less clear. We recently reported that neuromuscular training was well tolerated and feasible in patients with severe primary hip or knee OA. The aims of this controlled before-and-after study were to compare baseline status to an age-matched population-based reference group and to examine the effects of neuromuscular training on patient-reported outcomes and physical function in patients with severe primary OA of the hip or knee.
87 patients (60–77 years) with severe primary OA of the hip (n = 38, 55% women) or knee (n = 49, 59% women) awaiting total joint replacement (TJR) had supervised, neuromuscular training (NEMEX-TJR) in groups with individualized level and progression of training. A reference group (n = 43, 53% women) was included for comparison with patients’ data. Assessments included self-reported outcomes (HOOS/KOOS) and measures of physical function (chair stands, number of knee bends/30 sec, knee extensor strength, 20-meter walk test) at baseline and at follow-up before TJR. Analysis of covariance (ANCOVA) was used for comparing patients and references and elucidating influence of demographic factors on change. The paired t-test was used for comparisons within groups.
At baseline, patients reported worse scores than the references in all HOOS/KOOS subscales (hip 27–47%, knee 14–52%, of reference scores, respectively) and had functional limitations (hip 72–85%, knee 42–85%, of references scores, respectively). NEMEX-TJR (mean 12 weeks (SD 5.6) of training) improved self-reported outcomes (hip 9–29%, knee 7–20%) and physical function (hip 3–18%, knee 5–19%) (p < 0.005). Between 42% and 62% of hip OA patients, and 39% and 61% of knee OA patients, displayed a clinically meaningful improvement (≥15%) in HOOS/KOOS subscales by training. The improvement in HOOS/KOOS subscale ADL was greater for patients with knee OA than hip OA, while the improvement in subscale Sport/Rec was greater for patients with hip OA than knee OA.
Both self-reported outcomes and physical function were clearly worse compared with the reference group. Neuromuscular training with an individualized approach and gradual progression showed promise for improving patient-reported outcomes and physical function even in older patients with severe primary OA of the hip or knee.
Osteoarthritis; Arthroplasty; Exercise therapy; Patient-reported outcomes; Performance-based measures
Knee pain is common during adolescence. Adolescents and their parents may think that knee pain is benign and self-limiting and therefore avoid seeking medical care. However, long-term prognosis of knee pain is not favourable and treatment seems to offer greater reductions in pain compared to a “wait-and-see” approach. The purpose of this study was to describe the determinants of care-seeking behaviour among adolescents with current knee pain and investigate what types of treatment are initiated.
An online questionnaire was forwarded to 2,846 adolescents aged 15–19 in four upper secondary schools. The questionnaire contained questions on age, gender, height, weight, currently painful body regions, frequency of knee pain, health-related quality of life measured by the EuroQol 5-dimensions, sports participation and if they had sought medical care. Adolescents who reported current knee pain at least monthly or more frequently were telephoned. The adolescents were asked about pain duration, onset of knee pain (traumatic or insidious) and if they were currently being treated for their knee pain.
504 adolescents currently reported at least monthly knee pain. 59% of these had sought medical care and 18% were currently under medical treatment . A longer pain duration and higher pain severity increased the odds of seeking medical care. Females with traumatic onset of knee pain were more likely to have sought medical care than females with insidious onset of knee pain. Females with traumatic onset of knee pain and increased pain severity were more likely to be undergoing medical treatment. The most frequently reported treatments were the combination of exercises and orthotics (68% of those undergoing medical treatment).
Females with insidious onset of knee pain do not seek medical care as often as those with traumatic onset and adolescents of both genders with insidious onset are less likely to be under medical treatment. These findings are important as knee pain with insidious onset has similar consequences as knee pain with traumatic onset regarding pain severity, pain duration and reductions in health-related quality of life.
Adolescents; Knee pain; Care-seeking; Treatment
Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) is available in over 30 languages and a commonly used Patient-Reported Outcome (PRO) for assessment of treatment effects following knee surgery. The aim of the study was to report the linguistic translational process and evaluate the psychometric properties of the Polish version of the KOOS questionnaire.
We translated and culturally adapted the KOOS according to current guidelines for use in Poland. Patients who had undergone anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACLR) completed the KOOS and Short Form 36 Health Survey (SF-36). We evaluated floor/ceiling effects, reliability (using Cronbach’s alpha, intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC) and measurement error), convergent and divergent construct validity (using four a priori stated hypotheses) and responsiveness (using data obtained prior to and one year after ACLR and described by both effect size (ES) and standardized response mean (SRM)).
The clinical study population consisted of 72 subjects (mean age 29.8, 28% women). We did not observe floor effects in any KOOS subscales neither pre- nor postoperatively. As expected, ceiling effects were found postoperatively for the subscales Pain and ADL in this cohort assessed on average 1.3 year after surgery as more than 15% reported no pain or limitations in daily activities. The Cronbach’s alpha was above 0.9 for all subscales indicating excellent internal consistency. The test-retest reliability of all KOOS subscales at one-year postoperatively was excellent with ICCs exceeding 0.86 for all subscales. The minimal detectable change on group level ranged from 1.3 to 2.4, and on an individual level from 10.9 to 20.2. Responsiveness was demonstrated since the expected pattern of effect sizes between subscales following ACLR was found.
We found the Polish version of the KOOS to be a valid and reliable instrument for use in patient groups having ACLR. We caution against monitoring individual patients since the smallest change considered clinically relevant cannot reliably be detected.
Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score; Patient-reported outcome; Validation study; Psychometrics; Anterior cruciate ligament; Orthopedic surgery
Total Knee Replacement (TKR) is the standard treatment for patients with severe knee osteoarthritis (OA). Significant improvement in pain and function are seen after TKR and approximately 80% of patients are very satisfied with the outcome. Functional status prior to TKR is a major predictor of outcome after the intervention. Thus, improving functional status prior to surgery through exercise may improve after surgery outcome. However, results from several previous trials testing the concept have been inconclusive after surgery.
In a randomized controlled trial (RCT) we will test the effect of a pre-operative neuromuscular trainingprogram versus an attention control program on lower extremity function – before and after surgery. We will enroll 80 participants, aged between 55–90 years, who are scheduled for TKR. In this single-blinded RCT, the intervention group will receive a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 24 training sessions plus 3 educational sessions of the knee school. The control group will receive the 3 educational sessions only. Assessments are performed immediately before and after the intervention (before surgery), at 6 weeks, 3 months and 12 months (after surgery).
The primary outcome will include the Chair Stand Test as a measure of leg strength and reaction time. Secondary outcomes are knee function and pain assessed with the self-reported Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS). All measurements will be carried out by a specially trained physical therapist, blinded to group allocation.
To our knowledge this is the first single-blinded RCT to test the effect of pre-operative neuromuscular training plus knee school against knee school alone – on knee function and pain, assessed immediately after the interventions prior to surgery and repeatedly after surgery.
Clinical Trials NCT00913575
Arthroscopic partial meniscectomy has been shown to be of no benefit to patients with concomitant knee osteoarthritis, but the optimal treatment of a degenerative meniscus tear in patients with mild or no knee osteoarthritis is unknown. This article describes the rationale and methodology of a randomized sham-controlled trial to assess the benefit of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy of a medial meniscus tear in patients with mild or no knee osteoarthritis. The objective of the study is to test whether the benefit from arthroscopic partial meniscectomy in patients with knee pain, medial meniscus lesion and mild/no knee osteoarthritis, is greater after arthroscopic partial meniscectomy than following sham surgery.
We will conduct a randomized controlled trial of treatment for degenerative meniscus tears in middle-aged patients (aged 35–55 years) with an MRI-verified medial meniscus lesion and mild or no knee radiographic osteoarthritis (grade 0–2 on the Kellgren & Lawrence scale). Patients will be randomized to receive either conventional arthroscopic partial meniscectomy or a sham surgery procedure. The primary outcome will be the KOOS5 derived from the ‘Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score’ at 2 years follow-up. Secondary outcomes at 2 years will include all five individual subscales of the KOOS, a global perceived effect score, the Short-Form-36 health status score, EQ-5D for economic appraisal and objective tests of muscle strength and physical function. Radiographic knee osteoarthritis will be evaluated at 5 years.
Demonstration of no additional benefit from arthroscopic partial meniscectomy on pain and function should lead to a change in clinical care of patients with a degenerative meniscus tear. The results of this study will provide empirical evidence for the potential benefit/harm of arthroscopic partial meniscectomy compared to a masked sham-therapeutics intervention.
The age- and gender-specific incidence of total hip replacement surgery has increased over the last two decades in all age groups. Recent studies indicate that non-surgical interventions are effective in reducing pain and disability, even at later stages of the disease when joint replacement is considered. We hypothesize that the time to hip replacement can be postponed in patients with severe hip osteoarthritis following participation in a patient education and supervised exercise program when compared to patients receiving patient education alone.
A prospective, blinded, parallel-group multi-center trial (2 sites), with balanced randomization [1:1]. Patients with hip osteoarthritis and an indication for hip replacement surgery, aged 40 years and above, will be consecutively recruited and randomized into two treatment groups. The active treatment group will receive 3 months of supervised exercise consisting of 12 sessions of individualized, goal-based neuromuscular training, and 12 sessions of intensive resistance training plus patient education (3 sessions). The control group will receive only patient education (3 sessions). The primary end-point for assessing the effectiveness of the intervention is 12 months after baseline. However, follow-ups will also be performed once a year for at least 5 years. The primary outcome measure is the time to hip replacement surgery measured on a Kaplain-Meier survival curve from time of inclusion. Secondary outcome measures are the five subscales of the Hip disability and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score, physical activity level (UCLA activity score), and patient’s global perceived effect. Other measures include pain after exercise, joint-specific adverse events, exercise adherence, general health status (EQ-5D-5L), mechanical muscle strength and performance in physical tests. A cost-effectiveness analysis will also be performed.
To our knowledge, this is the first randomized clinical trial comparing a patient education plus supervised exercise program to patient education alone in hip osteoarthritis patients with an indication for surgery on the time to total hip replacement.
Exercise therapy; Education; Osteoarthritis; Hip; Hip replacement
Background and purpose
The Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) is distinguished from other knee-specific measures by the inclusion of separate scales for evaluation of activities of daily living, sports and recreation function, and knee-related quality of life, with presentation of separate subscale scores as a profile. However, its applicability in children has not been established. In this study, we examined how well the KOOS could be understood in a cohort of children with knee injury, with a view to preparing a pediatric version (KOOS-Child).
Material and methods
A trained researcher conducted cognitive interviews with 34 Swedish children who had symptomatic knee injuries (either primary or repeated). They were 10–16 years of age, and were selected to allow for equal group representation of age and sex. All the interviews were recorded. 4 researchers analyzed the data and modified the original KOOS questionnaire.
Many children (n =14) had difficulty in tracking items based on the time frame and an equivalent number of children had trouble in understanding several terms. Mapping errors resulted from misinterpretation of items and from design issues related to the item such as double-barreled format. Most children understood how to use the 5-point Likert response scale. Many children found the instructions confusing from both a lexical and a formatting point of view. Overall, most children found that several items were irrelevant.
The original KOOS is not well understood by children. Modifications related to comprehension, mapping of responses, and jargon in the KOOS were made based on qualitative feedback from the children.
Meniscectomy is a risk factor for knee osteoarthritis, with increased medial joint loading a likely contributor to the development and progression of knee osteoarthritis in this group. Therefore, post-surgical rehabilitation or interventions that reduce medial knee joint loading have the potential to reduce the risk of developing or progressing osteoarthritis. The primary purpose of this randomised, assessor-blind controlled trial is to determine the effects of a home-based, physiotherapist-supervised neuromuscular exercise program on medial knee joint load during functional tasks in people who have recently undergone a partial medial meniscectomy.
62 people aged 30–50 years who have undergone an arthroscopic partial medial meniscectomy within the previous 3 to 12 months will be recruited and randomly assigned to a neuromuscular exercise or control group using concealed allocation. The neuromuscular exercise group will attend 8 supervised exercise sessions with a physiotherapist and will perform 6 exercises at home, at least 3 times per week for 12 weeks. The control group will not receive the neuromuscular training program. Blinded assessment will be performed at baseline and immediately following the 12-week intervention. The primary outcomes are change in the peak external knee adduction moment measured by 3-dimensional analysis during normal paced walking and one-leg rise. Secondary outcomes include the change in peak external knee adduction moment during fast pace walking and one-leg hop and change in the knee adduction moment impulse during walking, one-leg rise and one-leg hop, knee and hip muscle strength, electromyographic muscle activation patterns, objective measures of physical function, as well as self-reported measures of physical function and symptoms and additional biomechanical parameters.
The findings from this trial will provide evidence regarding the effect of a home-based, physiotherapist-supervised neuromuscular exercise program on medial knee joint load during various tasks in people with a partial medial meniscectomy. If shown to reduce the knee adduction moment, neuromuscular exercise has the potential to prevent the onset of osteoarthritis or slow its progression in those with early disease.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12612000542897
It is recommended that non-operative treatment of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) should be individually tailored and include multiple treatment modalities. Despite these recommendations, no one has yet investigated the efficacy of combining several non-surgical treatment modalities in a randomised controlled study. The purpose of this randomised controlled study is to examine if an optimised, combined non-surgical treatment programme results in greater improvements in pain, function and quality of life in comparison with usual care in patients with KOA who are not eligible for total knee arthroplasty (TKA).
Methods and analysis
This study will include 100 consecutive patients from the North Denmark Region not eligible for TKA with radiographic KOA (K-L grade ≥1) and mean pain during the previous week of ≤60 mm (0–100). The participants will be randomised to receive either a 12-week non-surgical treatment programme consisting of patient education, exercise, diet, insoles, paracetamol and/or NSAIDs or usual care (two information leaflets containing information on KOA and advice regarding the above non-surgical treatment). The primary outcome will be the change from baseline to 12 months on the self-report questionnaire Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS)4 defined as the average score for the subscale scores for pain, symptoms, activities of daily living and quality of life. Secondary outcomes include the five individual KOOS subscale scores, pain on a 100 mm Visual Analogue Scale, EQ-5D, self-efficacy, pain pressure thresholds, postural control and isometric knee flexion and knee extension strength.
Ethics and dissemination
This study was approved by the local Ethics Committee of The North Denmark Region (N-20110085) and the protocol conforms to the principles of the Declaration of Helsinki. Data collection will be completed by April 2014. Publications will be ready for submission in the summer of 2014.
Trial registration number
This study is registered with http://clinicaltrials.gov (NCT01535001).
Rheumatology; Rehabilitation Medicine
Background and purpose
Feasibility is an important parameter when choosing which patient-reported outcomes (PRO) to use in a study. We assessed the feasibility of PROs in a hip registry setting.
Primary total hip arthroplasty (THA) patients (n = 5,747) who had been operated on 1–2, 5–6, or 10–11 years previously were randomly selected from the Danish Hip Arthroplasty Register and sent 2 PRO questionnaires: 1 generic (EuroQoL-5D or SF-12 health survey) and 1 disease-specific (hip dysfunction and osteoarthritis outcome score (HOOS) or Oxford 12-item hip score). We compared response rates, floor and ceiling effects, missing items, and the need for manual validation of forms.
4,784 patients (mean age 71 years, 57% females) were included (83%). The response rates ranged from 82–84%. Statistically significantly different floor and ceiling effects ranged from 0% to 0.5% and from 6.1% to 46%, respectively. Missing items ranged from 1.2% to 3.4%, and 0.8–4.3% required manual validation (p < 0.009). A hypothetical repeat study found that group sizes from 51 to 1,566 are needed for subgroup analysis, depending on descriptive factor and choice of PRO.
All 4 PROs fulfilled a priori set criteria, with the exception of ceiling effects. The high ceiling effects were attributed to postoperative administration and good outcome for THA. We conclude that all 4 PROs are appropriate for administration in a hip registry.
Objectives. To develop a prioritised list based on responsiveness for extracting patient-reported outcomes (PROs) measuring pain and disability for performing meta-analyses in knee osteoarthritis (OA). Methods. A systematic search was conducted in 20 highest impact factor general and rheumatology journals chosen a priori. Eligible studies were randomised controlled trials, using two or more PROs measuring pain and/or disability. Results. A literature search identified 402 publications and 38 trials were included, resulting in 54 randomised comparisons. Thirty-five trials had sufficient data on pain and 15 trials on disability. The WOMAC “pain” and “function” subscales were the most responsive composite scores. The following list was developed. Pain: (1) WOMAC “pain” subscale, (2) pain during activity (VAS), (3) pain during walking (VAS), (4) general knee pain (VAS), (5) pain at rest (VAS), (6) other composite pain scales, and (7) other single item measures. Disability: (1) WOMAC “function” subscale, (2) SF-36 “physical function” subscale, (3) SF-36 (Physical composite score), and (4) Other composite disability scores. Conclusions. As choosing the PRO most favourable for the intervention from individual trials can lead to biased estimates, using a prioritised list as developed in this study is recommended to reduce risk of biased selection of PROs in meta-analyses.
Studies on leisure time physical activity as risk factor or protective factor for knee or hip osteoarthritis (OA) show divergent results. Longitudinal prospective studies are needed to clarify the association of physical activity with future OA. The aim was to explore in a prospective population-based cohort study the influence of leisure time physical activity on severe knee or hip OA, defined as knee or hip replacement due to OA.
Leisure time physical activity was reported by 28320 participants (mean age 58 years (SD 7.6), 60% women) at baseline. An overall leisure time physical activity score, taking both duration and intensity of physical activities into account, was created. The most commonly reported activities were also used for analysis. The incidence of knee or hip replacement due to OA over 11 years was monitored by linkage with the Swedish hospital discharge register. Cox’s proportional hazards model (crude and adjusted for potential confounding factors) was used to assess the incidence of total joint replacement, or osteotomy (knee), in separate analyses of leisure time physical activity.
There was no significant overall association between leisure time physical activity and risk for knee or hip replacement due to OA over the 11-year observation time. For women only, the adjusted RR (95% CI) for hip replacement was 0.66 (0.48, 0.89) (fourth vs. first quartile), indicating a lower risk of hip replacement in those with the highest compared with the lowest physical activity. The most commonly reported activities were walking, bicycling, using stairs, and gardening. Walking was associated with a lower risk of hip replacement (adjusted RR 0.76 (95% CI 0.61, 0.94), specifically for women (adjusted RR 0.75 (95% CI 0.57, 0.98)).
In this population-based study of middle-aged men and women, leisure time physical activity showed no consistent overall relationship with incidence of severe knee or hip OA, defined as joint replacement due to OA, over 11 years. For women, higher leisure time physical activity may have a protective role for the incidence of hip replacement. Walking may have a protective role for hip replacement, specifically for women.
Osteoarthritis; Arthroplasty; Exercise; Workload; Risk factors
Severe traumatic knee injury, including injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), leads to impaired sensorimotor function. Although improvements are achieved by training, impairment often persists. Because good sensorimotor function is associated with better patient-reported function and a potential lower risk of future joint problems, more effective treatment is warranted. Temporary cutaneous anesthesia of adjacent body parts was successfully used on the hand and foot to improve sensorimotor function. The aim of this study was to test whether this principle of brain plasticity could be used on the knee. The hypothesis was that temporary anesthesia of the skin area above and below the knee would improve sensorimotor function of the ipsilateral knee and leg in subjects with ACL injury.
In this double-blind exploratory study, 39 subjects with ACL injury (mean age 24 years, SD 5.2, 49% women, mean 52 weeks after injury or reconstruction) and self-reported functional limitations and lack of trust in the knee were randomized to temporary local cutaneous application of anesthetic (EMLA®) (n = 20) or placebo cream (n = 19). Fifty grams of EMLA®, or placebo, was applied on the leg 10 cm above and 10 cm below the center of patella, leaving the area around the knee without cream. Measures of sensory function (perception of touch, vibration sense, knee kinesthesia) and motor function (knee muscle strength, hop test) were assessed before and after 90 minutes of treatment with EMLA® or placebo. The paired t-test was used for comparisons within groups and analysis of variance between groups, except for ordinal data where the Wilcoxon signed rank test, or Mann–Whitney test, was used. The number of subjects needed was determined by an a priori sample size calculation.
No statistically significant or clinically relevant differences were seen over time (before vs. after) in the measures of sensory or motor functions in the EMLA® group or in the placebo group. There were no differences between the groups due to treatment effect (EMLA® vs. placebo).
Temporary cutaneous anesthesia of adjacent body parts had no effect in improving sensorimotor function of the knee and leg in subjects with severe traumatic knee ligament injury.
There is a lack of high quality evidence concerning the efficacy of total knee arthroplasty (TKA). According to international evidence-based guidelines, treatment of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) should include patient education, exercise and weight loss. Insoles and pharmacological treatment can be included as supplementary treatments. If the combination of these non-surgical treatment modalities is ineffective, TKA may be indicated. The purpose of this randomised controlled trial is to examine whether TKA provides further improvement in pain, function and quality of life in addition to optimised non-surgical treatment in patients with KOA defined as definite radiographic OA and up to moderate pain.
The study will be conducted in The North Denmark Region. 100 participants with radiographic KOA (K-L grade ≥2) and mean pain during the previous week of ≤ 60 mm (0–100, best to worst scale) who are considered eligible for TKA by an orthopaedic surgeon will be included. The treatment will consist of 12 weeks of optimised non-surgical treatment consisting of patient education, exercise, diet, insoles, analgesics and/or NSAIDs. Patients will be randomised to either receiving or not receiving a TKA in addition to the optimised non-surgical treatment. The primary outcome will be the change from baseline to 12 months on the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS)4 defined as the average score for the subscale scores for pain, symptoms, activities of daily living, and quality of life. Secondary outcomes include the five individual KOOS subscale scores, EQ-5D, pain on a 100 mm Visual Analogue Scale, self-efficacy, pain pressure thresholds, and isometric knee flexion and knee extension strength.
This is the first randomised controlled trial to investigate the efficacy of TKA as an adjunct treatment to optimised non-surgical treatment in patients with KOA. The results will significantly contribute to evidence-based recommendations for the treatment of patients with KOA.
Clinicaltrials.gov reference: NCT01410409
Self-reported knee pain is highly prevalent among adolescents. As much as 50% of the non-specific knee pain may be attributed to Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome (PFPS). In the short term, exercise therapy appears to have a better effect than patient education consisting of written information and general advice on exercise or compared with placebo treatment. But the long-term effect of exercise therapy compared with patient education is conflicting. The purpose of this study is to examine the short- and long-term effectiveness of patient education compared with patient education and multimodal physiotherapy applied at a very early stage of the condition among adolescents.
This study is a single blind pragmatic cluster randomised controlled trial. Four upper secondary schools have been invited to participate in the study (approximately 2500 students, aged 15-19 years). Students are asked to answer an online questionnaire regarding musculoskeletal pain. The students who report knee pain are contacted by telephone and offered a clinical examination by a rheumatologist. Subjects who fit the inclusion criteria and are diagnosed with PFPS are invited to participate in the study. A minimum of 102 students with PFPS are then cluster-randomised into two intervention groups based on which school they attend. Both intervention groups receive written information and education. In addition to patient education, one group receives multimodal physiotherapy consisting primarily of neuromuscular training of the muscles around the foot, knee and hip and home exercises.
The students with PFPS fill out self-reported questionnaires at baseline, 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after inclusion in the study. The primary outcome measure is perception of recovery measured on a 7-point Likert scale ranging from "completely recovered" to "worse than ever" at 12 months.
This study is designed to investigate the effectiveness of patient education compared with patient education combined with multimodal physiotherapy. If patient education and multimodal physiotherapy applied at an early stage of Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome proves effective, it may serve as a basis for optimising the clinical pathway for those suffering from the condition, where specific emphasis can be placed on early diagnosis and early treatment.
clinicaltrials.gov reference: NCT01438762
Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome; Anterior Knee Pain; Physiotherapy; Adolescents
Osteoarthritis of the knee involving predominantly the medial tibiofemoral compartment is common in older people, giving rise to pain and loss of function. Many people experience progressive worsening of the disease over time, particularly those with varus malalignment and increased medial knee joint load. Therefore, interventions that can reduce excessive medial knee loading may be beneficial in reducing the risk of structural progression. Traditional quadriceps strengthening can improve pain and function in people with knee osteoarthritis but does not appear to reduce medial knee load. A neuromuscular exercise program, emphasising optimal alignment of the trunk and lower limb joints relative to one another, as well as quality of movement performance, while dynamically and functionally strengthening the lower limb muscles, may be able to reduce medial knee load. Such a program may also be superior to traditional quadriceps strengthening with respect to improved pain and physical function because of the functional and dynamic nature. This randomised controlled trial will investigate the effect of a neuromuscular exercise program on medial knee joint loading, pain and function in individuals with medial knee joint osteoarthritis. We hypothesise that the neuromuscular program will reduce medial knee load as well as pain and functional limitations to a greater extent than a traditional quadriceps strengthening program.
100 people with medial knee pain, radiographic medial compartment osteoarthritis and varus malalignment will be recruited and randomly allocated to one of two 12-week exercise programs: quadriceps strengthening or neuromuscular exercise. Each program will involve 14 supervised exercise sessions with a physiotherapist plus four unsupervised sessions per week at home. The primary outcomes are medial knee load during walking (the peak external knee adduction moment from 3D gait analysis), pain, and self-reported physical function measured at baseline and immediately following the program. Secondary outcomes include the external knee adduction moment angular impulse, electromyographic muscle activation patterns, knee and hip muscle strength, balance, functional ability, and quality-of-life.
The findings will help determine whether neuromuscular exercise is superior to traditional quadriceps strengthening regarding effects on knee load, pain and physical function in people with medial knee osteoarthritis and varus malalignment.
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12610000660088
Hip osteoarthritis is a common and chronic condition resulting in pain, functional disability and reduced quality of life. In the early stages of the disease, a combination of non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatment is recommended. There is evidence from several trials that exercise therapy is effective. In addition, single trials suggest that patient education in the form of a hip school is a promising intervention and that manual therapy is superior to exercise.
This is a randomized clinical trial. Patients with clinical and radiological hip osteoarthritis, 40-80 years of age, and without indication for hip surgery were randomized into 3 groups. The active intervention groups A and B received six weeks of hip school, taught by a physiotherapist, for a total of 5 sessions. In addition, group B received manual therapy consisting of joint manipulation and soft-tissue therapy twice a week for six weeks. Group C received a self-care information leaflet containing advice on "live as usual" and stretching exercises from the hip school. The primary time point for assessing relative effectiveness is at the end of the six weeks intervention period with follow-ups after three and 12 months.
Primary outcome measure is pain measured on an eleven-point numeric rating scale. Secondary outcome measures are the hip dysfunction and osteoarthritis outcome score, patient's global perceived effect, patient specific functional scale, general quality of life and hip range of motion.
To our knowledge this is the first randomized clinical trial comparing a patient education program with or without the addition of manual therapy to a minimal intervention for patients with hip osteoarthritis.
Muscle function may influence the risk of knee injury and outcomes following injury. Clinical tests, such as a single-limb mini squat, resemble conditions of daily life and are easy to administer. Fewer squats per 30 seconds indicate poorer function. However, the quality of movement, such as the medio-lateral knee motion may also be important. The aim was to validate an observational clinical test of assessing the medio-lateral knee motion, using a three-dimensional (3-D) motion analysis system. In addition, the inter-rater reliability was evaluated.
Twenty-five (17 women) non-injured participants (mean age 25.6 years, range 18-37) were included. Visual analysis of the medio-lateral knee motion, scored as knee-over-foot or knee-medial-to-foot by two raters, and 3-D kinematic data were collected simultaneously during a single-limb mini squat. Frontal plane 2-D peak tibial, thigh, and knee varus-valgus angles, and 3-D peak hip internal-external rotation, and knee varus-valgus angles were calculated.
Ten subjects were scored as having a knee-medial-to-foot position and 15 subjects a knee-over-foot position assessed by visual inspection. In 2-D, the peak tibial angle (mean 89.0 (SE 0.7) vs mean 86.3 (SE 0.4) degrees, p = 0.001) and peak thigh angle (mean 77.4 (SE 1.0) vs mean 81.2 (SE 0.5) degrees, p = 0.001) with respect to the horizontal, indicated that the knee was more medially placed than the ankle and thigh, respectively. Thus, the knee was in more valgus (mean 11.6 (SE 1.5) vs 5.0 (SE 0.8) degrees, p < 0.001) in subjects with the knee-medial-to-foot than in those with a knee-over-foot position. In 3-D, the hip was more internally rotated in those with a knee-medial-to-foot than in those with a knee-over-foot position (mean 10.6 (SE 2.1) vs 4.8 (SE 1.8) degrees, p = 0.049), but there was no difference in knee valgus (mean 6.1 (SE 1.8) vs mean 5.0 (SE 1.2) degrees, p = 0.589). The kappa value and percent agreement, respectively, was >0.90 and 96 between raters.
Medio-lateral motion of the knee can reliably be assessed during a single-leg mini-squat. The test is valid in 2-D, while the actual movement, in 3-D, is mainly exhibited as increased internal hip rotation. The single-limb mini squat is feasible and easy to administer in the clinical setting and in research to address lower extremity movement quality.
Injury to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is associated not only with knee instability and impaired neuromuscular control, but also with altered postural orientation manifested as observable "substitution patterns". However, tests currently used to evaluate knee function in subjects with ACL injury are not designed to assess postural orientation. Therefore, we are in the process of developing an observational test set that measures postural orientation in terms of the ability to stabilize body segments in relation to each other and to the environment. The aim of the present study was to characterise correlations between this novel test set, called the Test for Substitution Patterns (TSP) and commonly used tests of knee function.
In a blinded set-up, 53 subjects (mean age 30 years, range 20-39, with 2-5 years since ACL injury) were assessed using the TSP, the Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score subscale sport/recreation (KOOS sport/rec), 3 hop tests and 3 muscle power tests. Correlations between the scores of the TSP and the other tests were determined.
Moderate correlations were found between TSP scores and KOOS sport/rec (rs = -0.43; p = 0.001) and between TSP scores and hop test results (rs = -0.40 to -0.46; p ≤ 0.003), indicating that altered postural orientation was associated with worse self-reported KOOS sport/rec function and worse hop performance. No significant correlations were found between TSP scores and muscle power results. Subjects had higher TSP scores on their injured side than on their uninjured side (median 4 and 1 points; interquartile range 2-6 and 0-1.5, respectively; p < 0.0001).
We conclude that the Test for Substitution Patterns is of relevance to the patient and measures a specific aspect of neuromuscular control not quantified by the other tests investigated. We suggest that the TSP may be a valuable complement in the assessment of neuromuscular control in the rehabilitation of subjects with ACL injury.
Although improvements are achieved by general exercise, training to improve sensorimotor control may be needed for people with osteoarthritis (OA). The aim was to apply the principles of neuromuscular training, which have been successfully used in younger and middle-aged patients with knee injuries, to older patients with severe hip or knee OA. We hypothesized that the training program was feasible, determined as: 1) at most acceptable self-reported pain following training; 2) decreased or unchanged pain during the training period; 3) few joint specific adverse events related to training, and 4) achieved progression of training level during the training period.
Seventy-six patients, between 60 and 77 years, with severe hip (n = 38, 55% women) or knee OA (n = 38, 61% women) underwent an individualized, goal-based neuromuscular training program (NEMEX-TJR) in groups for a median of 11 weeks (quartiles 7 to 15) prior to total joint replacement (TJR). Pain was self-reported immediately after each training session on a 0 to 10 cm, no pain to pain as bad as it could be, scale, where 0-2 indicates safe, > 2 to 5 acceptable and > 5 high risk pain. Joint specific adverse events were: not attending or ceasing training because of increased pain/problems in the index joint related to training, and self-reported pain > 5 after training. The level of difficulty of training was registered.
Patients with severe OA of the hip or knee reported safe pain (median 2 cm) after training. Self-reported pain was lower at training sessions 10 and 20 (p = 0.04) and unchanged at training sessions 5 and 15 (p = 0.170, p = 0.161) compared with training session 1. There were no joint specific adverse events in terms of not attending or ceasing training. Few patients (n = 17, 22%) reported adverse events in terms of self-reported pain > 5 after one or more training sessions. Progression of training level was achieved over time (p < 0.001).
The NEMEX-TJR training program is feasible in patients with severe hip or knee OA, in terms of safe self-reported pain following training, decreased or unchanged pain during the training period, few joint specific adverse events, and achieved progression of training level during the training period.
The association between knee alignment and knee pain in knee osteoarthritis (OA) is unclear. High tibial osteotomy, a treatment option in knee OA, alters load from the affected to the unaffected compartment of the knee by correcting malalignment. This surgical procedure thus offers the possibility to study the cross-sectional and longitudinal association of alignment to pain. The aims were to study 1) the preoperative association of knee alignment to preoperative knee pain and 2) the association of change in knee alignment with surgery to change in knee pain over time in patients operated on for knee OA by high tibial osteotomy.
182 patients (68% men) mean age 53 years (34 - 69) with varus alignment having tibial osteotomy by the hemicallotasis technique for medial knee OA were consecutively included. Knee alignment was assessed by the Hip-Knee-Ankle (HKA) angle from radiographs including the hip and ankle joints. Knee pain was measured by the subscale pain (0 - 100, worst to best scale) of the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) preoperatively and at one year follow-up. To estimate the association between knee alignment and knee pain multivariate regression analyses were used.
Mean preoperative varus alignment was 170 degrees (153 - 178) and mean preoperative KOOS pain was 42 points (3 - 86). There was no association between preoperative varus alignment and preoperative KOOS pain, crude analysis 0.02 points (95% CI -0.6 - 0.7) change in pain with every degree of HKA angle, adjusted analysis 0.3 points (95% CI -1.3 - 0.6).
The mean postoperative knee alignment was 184 degrees (171 - 185). The mean change in knee alignment was 13 degrees (0 - 30). The mean change in KOOS pain was 32 (-16 - 83). There was neither any association between change in knee alignment and change in KOOS pain over time, crude analysis 0.3 point (95% CI -0.6 - 1.2), adjusted analysis 0.4 points (95% CI 0.6 - 1.4).
We found no association between knee alignment and knee pain in patients with knee OA indicating that alignment and pain are separate entities, and that the degree of preoperative malalignment is not a predictor of knee pain after high tibial osteotomy.
The objective was to understand patients' views of treatment after acute anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, and their reasons for deciding to request surgery despite consenting to participate in a randomised controlled trial (to 'cross-over').
Thirty-four in-depth qualitative interviews were conducted with young (aged 18–35), physically active individuals with ACL rupture who were participating in a RCT comparing training and surgical reconstruction with training only. 22/34 were randomised to training only but crossed over to surgery. Of these, 11 were interviewed before surgery, and 11 were interviewed at least 6 months after surgery. To provide additional information, 12 patients were interviewed before randomisation. Interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed and analysed using the Framework approach.
Strong preference for surgery was commonplace and many patients said that they joined the RCT in order to bypass waiting lists. Patients who chose to cross-over described training as time consuming, boring and as unable to provide sufficient results within a reasonable timeframe. Some said their injured knees had given-way; others experienced new knee traumas; and many described their lack of trust in their knee. Patients believed that surgery would provide joint stability. Despite the ostensible satisfaction with surgery, more detailed exploration showed mixed views.
Participants in a trial of treatments for acute ACL injury express a variety of views and beliefs about those treatments, and trial participation happens in the absence of equipoise. Furthermore, opting for surgical reconstruction does not necessarily provide patients with satisfactory outcomes. Definition of successful outcome may require an individualised approach, incorporating patients' as well as surgeons' views before treatment decisions are made.
Principles of brain plasticity is used in the treatment of patients with functional limitations to improve sensorimotor function. Training is included in the treatment of knee injury to improve both patient-reported function and sensorimotor function. However, impairment in sensorimotor function often persists despite training. Therefore, it was suggested that training programs need to be more effective to improve sensorimotor function after knee injury. The aim of the current study was to investigate if principles of brain plasticity that have been successfully used on the hand and foot to improve sensorimotor function can be applied on the knee. We hypothesized that temporary anesthesia of the skin area above and below the knee would improve sensorimotor function of the ipsilateral knee and leg.
In this first double-blind exploratory study, 28 uninjured subjects (mean age 26 years, range 19–34, 50% women) were randomized to temporary local cutaneous application of anesthetic (EMLA®) (n = 14) or placebo cream (n = 14). Fifty grams of EMLA, or placebo, was applied on the leg 10 cm above and 10 cm below the center of patella, leaving the area around the knee without cream. Measures of sensory function (perception of touch, vibration sense, knee kinesthesia) and motor function (knee muscle strength, hop test) were assessed before and after 90 minutes of treatment with EMLA or placebo. The paired t-test was used for comparisons within groups and the independent t-test for comparisons between groups. The number of subjects needed was determined by an a priori sample size calculation.
No statistically significant or clinically relevant differences were seen over time (before vs. after) in the measures of sensory or motor functions in the EMLA group or in the placebo group. There were no differences between the groups due to treatment effect (EMLA vs. placebo).
We found no effect of temporary cutaneous anesthesia on sensorimotor function of the ipsilateral knee and leg in uninjured subjects. The principles used in this study remain to be tested in subjects with knee injury.
Background and purpose With an aging population expecting an active life after retirement, patients’ expectations of improvement after surgery are also increasing. We analyzed the relationship between preoperative expectations and postoperative satisfaction and self-reported outcomes with regard to pain and physical function after knee arthroplasty.
Patients and methods 102 patients (39 men) with knee osteoarthritis and who were assigned for TKR (mean age 71 (51–86) years) were investigated with KOOS, SF-36, and additional questions concerning physical activity level, expectations, satisfaction, and relevance of the outcome to the patient. These investigations took place preoperatively and postoperatively after 6 months, 1 year, and 5 years of follow-up.
Results Response rate at 5 years was 86%. In general, the patients’ preoperative expectations were higher than their postoperative ability. For example, 41% expected to be able to perform activities such as golfing and dancing while only 14% were capable of these activities at 5 years. Having high or low preoperative expectations with regard to walking ability or leisure-time activities had no influence on the KOOS scores postoperatively. 93% of the patients were generally satisfied 5 years postoperatively, while 87% were satisfied with the relief of pain and 80% with their improvement in physical function at that time.
Interpretation With an expanding population of mentally alert elderly, we can expect that great demands will be put on joint replacements. This study shows that patients have high preoperative expectations concerning reduction of pain. To a considerable extent, these expectations are fulfilled after one year. Expectations concerning demanding physical activities are not fulfilled to the same degree; however, most patients reported general satisfaction with the outcome indicating that satisfaction is not equivalent to fulfilled expectations. Preoperative counseling should include realistic information on outcomes concerning physical function and pain relief.
The Medical Outcomes General Health Survey (SF-36) is a widely used health status measure; however, limited evidence is available for its performance in orthopedic settings. The aim of this study was to examine the magnitude and meaningfulness of change and sensitivity of SF-36 subscales following orthopedic surgery.
Longitudinal data on outcomes of total hip replacement (THR, n = 255), total knee replacement (TKR, n = 103), arthroscopic partial meniscectomy (APM, n = 74) and anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction (ACL, n = 62) were used to estimate the effect sizes (ES, magnitude of change) and minimal detectable change (sensitivity) at the group and individual level. To provide context for interpreting the magnitude of changes in SF-36 scores, we also compared patients' scores with age and sex-matched population norms. The studies were conducted in Sweden. Follow-up was five years in THR and TKR studies, two years in ACL, and three months in APM.
On average, large effect sizes (ES≥0.80) were found after orthopedic surgery in SF-36 subscales measuring physical aspects (physical functioning, role physical, and bodily pain). Small (0.20–0.49) to moderate (0.50–0.79) effect sizes were found in subscales measuring mental and social aspects (role emotional, vitality, social functioning, and mental health). General health scores remained relatively unchanged during the follow-up. Despite improvements, post-surgery mean scores of patients were still below the age and sex matched population norms on physical subscales. Patients' scores on mental and social subscales approached population norms following the surgery. At the individual level, scores of a large proportion of patients were affected by floor or ceiling effects on several subscales and the sensitivity to individual change was very low.
Large to moderate meaningful changes in group scores were observed in all SF-36 subscales except General Health across the intervention groups. Therefore, in orthopedic settings, the SF-36 can be used to show changes for groups in physical, mental, and social dimensions and in comparison with population norms. However, SF-36 subscales have low sensitivity to individual change and so we caution against using SF-36 to monitor the health status of individual patients undergoing orthopedic surgery.