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1.  Internet-mediated physiotherapy and pain coping skills training for people with persistent knee pain (IMPACT – knee pain): a randomised controlled trial protocol 
Background
Persistent knee pain in people over 50 years of age is often attributable to knee osteoarthritis (OA), a common joint condition that causes physical and psychological dysfunction. Exercise and pain coping skills training (PCST) can help reduce the impact of persistent knee pain, however, access to health professionals who deliver these services can be challenging. With increasing access to the Internet, remotely delivered Internet-based treatment approaches may provide alternatives for healthcare delivery. This pragmatic randomised controlled trial will investigate whether an Internet-delivered intervention that combines PCST and physiotherapist-guided exercise (PCST + Ex) is more effective than online educational material (educational control) in people with persistent knee pain.
Methods/Design
We will recruit 148 people over 50 years of age with self-reported persistent knee pain consistent with knee OA from the Australian community. Following completion of baseline questionnaires, participants will be randomly allocated to access a 3-month intervention of either (i) online educational material, or (ii) the same online material plus an 8-module (once per week) Internet-based PCST program and seven Internet-delivered physiotherapy sessions with a home exercise programs to be performed 3 times per week. Outcomes will be measured at baseline, 3 months and 9 months with the primary time point at 3 months. Primary outcomes are average knee pain on walking (11-point numeric rating scale) and self-reported physical function (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index subscale). Secondary outcomes include additional measures of knee pain, health-related quality-of-life, perceived global change in symptoms, and potential moderators and mediators of outcomes including self-efficacy for pain management and function, pain coping attempts and pain catastrophising. Other measures of adherence, adverse events, harms, use of health services/co-interventions, and process measures including appropriateness and satisfaction of the intervention, will be collected at 3, 6 and 9 months.
Discussion
The findings will help determine the effectiveness and acceptability of Internet access to a combination of interventions that are known to be beneficial to people with persistent knee pain. This study has the potential to guide clinical practice towards innovative modes of healthcare provision.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12614000243617.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-279
PMCID: PMC4137067  PMID: 25125068
Knee osteoarthritis; Knee pain; Physiotherapy; Pain coping skills; Internet; Health care delivery; Randomised control trial
2.  Efficacy of a physiotherapy rehabilitation program for individuals undergoing arthroscopic management of femoroacetabular impingement – the FAIR trial: a randomised controlled trial protocol 
Background
Femoroacetabular impingement is a common cause of hip/groin symptoms and impaired functional performance in younger sporting populations and results from morphological abnormalities of the hip in which the proximal femur abuts against the acetabular rim. Many people with symptomatic femoroacetabular impingement undergo arthroscopic hip surgery to correct the bony abnormalities. While many case series over the past decade have reported favourable surgical outcomes, it is not known whether formal rehabilitation is needed as part of the management of patients undergoing this surgical procedure. This randomised controlled trial will investigate the efficacy of a progressive physiotherapist-supervised rehabilitation program (Takla-O’Donnell Protocol) in improving health-related quality of life, physical function and symptoms in individuals undergoing arthroscopic management of femoroacetabular impingement.
Methods/design
100 people aged 16–35 years undergoing hip arthroscopy for symptomatic femoroacetabular impingement will be recruited from surgical practices in Melbourne, Australia and randomly allocated to either a physiotherapy or control group. Both groups will receive written information and one standardised post-operative physiotherapy visit whilst in hospital as per usual care. Those in the physiotherapy group will also receive seven individual 30-minute physiotherapy sessions, including one pre-operative visit (within 2 weeks of surgery) and six post-operative visits at fortnightly intervals (commencing two weeks after surgery). The physiotherapy intervention will incorporate education and advice, manual techniques and prescription of a progressive rehabilitation program including home, aquatic and gym exercises. The control group will not receive additional physiotherapy management. Measurements will be taken at baseline (2 weeks pre-operatively) and at 14 and 24 weeks post-surgery. Primary outcomes are the International Hip Outcome Tool and the sports subscale of the Hip Outcome Score at 14 weeks post-surgery. Secondary outcomes include the Copenhagen Hip and Groin Outcome Score, the activities of daily living subscale of the Hip Outcome Score, the Heidelberg Sports Activity Score, a modified Tegner Activity Scale and participant-perceived overall change.
Discussion
The findings from this randomised controlled trial will provide evidence for the efficacy of a specific physiotherapist-supervised rehabilitation program in improving outcomes following arthroscopic management of symptomatic femoroacetabular impingement.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference number: ACTRN12613000282785.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-58
PMCID: PMC3941691  PMID: 24571824
Physiotherapy; Physical therapy; Rehabilitation; Hip arthroscopy; Femoroacetabular impingement
3.  Unloading shoes for osteoarthritis of the knee: protocol for the SHARK randomised controlled trial 
Background
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a common and disabling condition. Abnormalities in knee loading play an important role in disease pathogenesis, yet there are few non-surgical treatments for knee OA capable of reducing knee load. This two-arm randomised controlled trial is investigating the efficacy of specially-designed unloading shoes for the treatment of symptoms in people with knee OA.
Methods/Design
164 people with symptomatic medial tibiofemoral joint OA will be recruited from the community and randomly allocated to receive either unloading shoes or control shoes. Unloading shoes have a specially-designed triple-density midsole where the medial side is softer than normal and the lateral side harder as well as a lateral wedge between the sole and sock-liner. Control shoes are standard athletic shoes and do not contain these features. Participants will be blinded to shoe allocation and will be instructed to wear the shoes as much as possible every day for 6 months, for a minimum of 4 hours per day. The primary outcomes are knee pain (numerical rating scale) and self-reported physical function (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index) measured at baseline and 6 months. Secondary outcomes include additional measures of knee pain, knee stiffness, participant global ratings of change in symptoms, quality-of-life and physical activity.
Conclusions
The findings from this study will help determine whether specially-designed unloading shoes are efficacious in the management of knee OA.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12613000851763.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-48
PMCID: PMC3942305  PMID: 24555418
4.  Self-reported knee joint instability is related to passive mechanical stiffness in medial knee osteoarthritis 
Background
Self-reported knee joint instability compromises function in individuals with medial knee osteoarthritis and may be related to impaired joint mechanics. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the relationship between self-reported instability and the passive varus-valgus mechanical behaviour of the medial osteoarthritis knee.
Methods
Passive varus-valgus angular laxity and stiffness were assessed using a modified isokinetic dynamometer in 73 participants with medial tibiofemoral osteoarthritis. All participants self-reported the absence or presence of knee instability symptoms and the degree to which instability affected daily activity on a 6-point likert scale.
Results
Forward linear regression modelling identified a significant inverse relationship between passive mid-range knee stiffness and symptoms of knee instability (r = 0.27; P < 0.05): reduced stiffness was indicative of more severe instability symptoms. Angular laxity and end-range stiffness were not related to instability symptoms (P > 0.05).
Conclusions
Conceivably, a stiffer passive system may contribute toward greater joint stability during functional activities. Importantly however, net joint stiffness is influenced by both active and passive stiffness, and thus the active neuromuscular system may compensate for reduced passive stiffness in order to maintain joint stability. Future work is merited to examine the role of active stiffness in symptomatic joint stability.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-326
PMCID: PMC3840574  PMID: 24252592
Knee osteoarthritis; Passive stiffness; Instability; Varus-valgus laxity
5.  Strength Training for Arthritis Trial (START): design and rationale 
Background
Muscle loss and fat gain contribute to the disability, pain, and morbidity associated with knee osteoarthritis (OA), and thigh muscle weakness is an independent and modifiable risk factor for it. However, while all published treatment guidelines recommend muscle strengthening exercise to combat loss of muscle mass and strength in knee OA patients, previous strength training studies either used intensities or loads below recommended levels for healthy adults or were generally short, lasting only 6 to 24 weeks. The efficacy of high-intensity strength training in improving OA symptoms, slowing progression, and affecting the underlying mechanisms has not been examined due to the unsubstantiated belief that it might exacerbate symptoms. We hypothesize that in addition to short-term clinical benefits, combining greater duration with high-intensity strength training will alter thigh composition sufficiently to attain long-term reductions in knee-joint forces, lower pain levels, decrease inflammatory cytokines, and slow OA progression.
Methods/Design
This is an assessor-blind, randomized controlled trial. The study population consists of 372 older (age ≥ 55 yrs) ambulatory, community-dwelling persons with: (1) mild-to-moderate medial tibiofemoral OA (Kellgren-Lawrence (KL) = 2 or 3); (2) knee neutral or varus aligned knee ( -2° valgus ≤ angle ≤ 10° varus); (3) 20 kg.m-2 ≥ BMI ≤ 45 kg.m-2; and (3) no participation in a formal strength-training program for more than 30 minutes per week within the past 6 months. Participants are randomized to one of 3 groups: high-intensity strength training (75-90% 1Repetition Maximum (1RM)); low-intensity strength training (30-40%1RM); or healthy living education. The primary clinical aim is to compare the interventions’ effects on knee pain, and the primary mechanistic aim is to compare their effects on knee-joint compressive forces during walking, a mechanism that affects the OA disease pathway. Secondary aims will compare the interventions’ effects on additional clinical measures of disease severity (e.g., function, mobility); disease progression measured by x-ray; thigh muscle and fat volume, measured by computed tomography (CT); components of thigh muscle function, including hip abductor strength and quadriceps strength, and power; additional measures of knee-joint loading; inflammatory and OA biomarkers; and health-related quality of life.
Discussion
Test-retest reliability for the thigh CT scan was: total thigh volume, intra-class correlation coefficients (ICC) = 0.99; total fat volume, ICC = 0.99, and total muscle volume, ICC = 0.99. ICC for both isokinetic concentric knee flexion and extension strength was 0.93, and for hip-abductor concentric strength was 0.99. The reliability of our 1RM testing was: leg press, ICC = 0.95; leg curl, ICC = 0.99; and leg extension, ICC = 0.98. Results of this trial will provide critically needed guidance for clinicians in a variety of health professions who prescribe and oversee treatment and prevention of OA-related complications. Given the prevalence and impact of OA and the widespread availability of this intervention, assessing the efficacy of optimal strength training has the potential for immediate and vital clinical impact.
Trial registration
ClinicalTrials.gov, NCT01489462
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-14-208
PMCID: PMC3722013  PMID: 23855596
6.  Addition of telephone coaching to a physiotherapist-delivered physical activity program in people with knee osteoarthritis: A randomised controlled trial protocol 
Background
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most common and costly chronic musculoskeletal conditions world-wide and is associated with substantial pain and disability. Many people with knee OA also experience co-morbidities that further add to the OA burden. Uptake of and adherence to physical activity recommendations is suboptimal in this patient population, leading to poorer OA outcomes and greater impact of associated co-morbidities. This pragmatic randomised controlled trial will investigate the clinical- and cost-effectiveness of adding telephone coaching to a physiotherapist-delivered physical activity intervention for people with knee OA.
Methods/Design
168 people with clinically diagnosed knee OA will be recruited from the community in metropolitan and regional areas and randomly allocated to physiotherapy only, or physiotherapy plus nurse-delivered telephone coaching. Physiotherapy involves five treatment sessions over 6 months, incorporating a home exercise program of 4–6 exercises (targeting knee extensor and hip abductor strength) and advice to increase daily physical activity. Telephone coaching comprises 6–12 telephone calls over 6 months by health practitioners trained in applying the Health Change Australia (HCA) Model of Health Change to provide behaviour change support. The telephone coaching intervention aims to maximise adherence to the physiotherapy program, as well as facilitate increased levels of participation in general physical activity. The primary outcomes are pain measured by an 11-point numeric rating scale and self-reported physical function measured by the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index subscale after 6 months. Secondary outcomes include physical activity levels, quality-of-life, and potential moderators and mediators of outcomes including self-efficacy, pain coping and depression. Relative cost-effectiveness will be determined from health service usage and outcome data. Follow-up assessments will also occur at 12 and 18 months.
Discussion
The findings will help determine whether the addition of telephone coaching sessions can improve sustainability of outcomes from a physiotherapist-delivered physical activity intervention in people with knee OA.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12612000308897
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-246
PMCID: PMC3552972  PMID: 23231928
7.  The effects of neuromuscular exercise on medial knee joint load post-arthroscopic partial medial meniscectomy: ‘SCOPEX’ a randomised control trial protocol 
Background
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.
Methods/design
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.
Discussion
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.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12612000542897
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-233
PMCID: PMC3529104  PMID: 23181415
8.  A physiotherapist-delivered integrated exercise and pain coping skills training intervention for individuals with knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled trial protocol 
Background
Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a prevalent chronic musculoskeletal condition with no cure. Pain is the primary symptom and results from a complex interaction between structural changes, physical impairments and psychological factors. Much evidence supports the use of strengthening exercises to improve pain and physical function in this patient population. There is also a growing body of research examining the effects of psychologist-delivered pain coping skills training (PCST) particularly in other chronic pain conditions. Though typically provided separately, there are symptom, resource and personnel advantages of exercise and PCST being delivered together by a single healthcare professional. Physiotherapists are a logical choice to be trained to deliver a PCST intervention as they already have expertise in administering exercise for knee OA and are cognisant of the need for a biopsychosocial approach to management. No studies to date have examined the effects of an integrated exercise and PCST program delivered solely by physiotherapists in this population. The primary aim of this multisite randomised controlled trial is to investigate whether an integrated 12-week PCST and exercise treatment program delivered by physiotherapists is more efficacious than either program alone in treating pain and physical function in individuals with knee OA.
Methods/design
This will be an assessor-blinded, 3-arm randomised controlled trial of a 12-week intervention involving 10 physiotherapy visits together with home practice. Participants with symptomatic and radiographic knee OA will be recruited from the community in two cities in Australia and randomized into one of three groups: exercise alone, PCST alone, or integrated PCST and exercise. Randomisation will be stratified by city (Melbourne or Brisbane) and gender. Primary outcomes are overall average pain in the past week measured by a Visual Analogue Scale and physical function measured by the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index subscale. Secondary outcomes include global rating of change, muscle strength, functional performance, physical activity levels, health related quality of life and psychological factors. Measurements will be taken at baseline and immediately following the intervention (12 weeks) as well as at 32 weeks and 52 weeks to examine maintenance of any intervention effects. Specific assessment of adherence to the treatment program will also be made at weeks 22 and 42. Relative cost-effectiveness will be determined from health service usage and outcome data.
Discussion
The findings from this randomised controlled trial will provide evidence for the efficacy of an integrated PCST and exercise program delivered by physiotherapists in the management of painful and functionally limiting knee OA compared to either program alone.
Trial registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference number: ACTRN12610000533099
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-13-129
PMCID: PMC3524463  PMID: 22828288
9.  Comparison of neuromuscular and quadriceps strengthening exercise in the treatment of varus malaligned knees with medial knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled trial protocol 
Background
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.
Methods/Design
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.
Discussion
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.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12610000660088
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-276
PMCID: PMC3247187  PMID: 22141334
10.  Validity and inter-rater reliability of medio-lateral knee motion observed during a single-limb mini squat 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-265
PMCID: PMC2998461  PMID: 21080945
11.  Decline in Health-Related Quality of Life reported by more than half of those waiting for joint replacement surgery: a prospective cohort study 
Background
In many healthcare systems, people with severe joint disease wait months to years for joint replacement surgery. There are little empirical data on the health consequences of this delay and it is unclear whether people with substantial morbidity at entry to the waiting list continue to deteriorate further while awaiting surgery. This study investigated changes in Health-Related Quality of Life (HRQoL), health status and psychological distress among people waiting for total hip (THR) and knee replacement (TKR) surgery at a major metropolitan Australian public hospital.
Methods
134 patients completed questionnaires including the Assessment of Quality of Life (AQoL) instrument, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and Kessler Psychological Distress Scale after entering an orthopaedic waiting list (baseline) and before surgery (preadmission). To quantify potential decline in wellbeing, we calculated the proportion of people experiencing clinically important deterioration using published guidelines and compared HRQoL and psychological distress outcomes with population norms.
Results
Most participants (69%) waited ≥6 months for surgery (median 286 days, IQR 169-375 days). Despite poor physical and psychological wellbeing at baseline, there was an overall deterioration in HRQoL during the waiting period (mean AQoL change -0.04, 95%CI -0.08 to -0.01), with 53% of participants experiencing decline in HRQoL (≥0.04 AQoL units). HRQoL prior to surgery remained substantially lower than Australian population norms (mean sample AQoL 0.37, 95%CI 0.33 to 0.42 vs mean population AQoL 0.83, 95%CI 0.82 to 0.84). Twenty-five per cent of participants showed decline in health status (≥9.6 WOMAC units) over the waiting period and prevalence of high psychological distress remained high at preadmission (RR 3.5, 95%CI 2.8 to 4.5). Most participants considered their pain (84%), fatigue (76%), quality of life (73%) and confidence in managing their health (55%) had worsened while waiting for surgery.
Conclusions
Despite substantial initial morbidity, over half of the participants awaiting joint replacement experienced deterioration in HRQoL during the waiting period. These data provide much-needed evidence to guide health professionals and policymakers in the design of care pathways and resource allocation for people who require joint replacement surgery.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-12-108
PMCID: PMC3121657  PMID: 21605398
12.  Efficacy of a multimodal physiotherapy treatment program for hip osteoarthritis: a randomised placebo-controlled trial protocol 
Background
Hip osteoarthritis (OA) is a common condition leading to pain, disability and reduced quality of life. There is currently limited evidence to support the use of conservative, non-pharmacological treatments for hip OA. Exercise and manual therapy have both shown promise and are typically used together by physiotherapists to manage painful hip OA. The aim of this randomised controlled trial is to compare the efficacy of a physiotherapy treatment program with placebo treatment in reducing pain and improving physical function.
Methods
The trial will be conducted at the University of Melbourne Centre for Health, Exercise and Sports Medicine. 128 participants with hip pain greater or equal to 40/100 on visual analogue scale (VAS) and evidence of OA on x-ray will be recruited. Treatment will be provided by eight community physiotherapists in the Melbourne metropolitan region. The active physiotherapy treatment will comprise a semi-structured program of manual therapy and exercise plus education and advice. The placebo treatment will consist of sham ultrasound and the application of non-therapeutic gel. The participants and the study assessor will be blinded to the treatment allocation. Primary outcomes will be pain measured by VAS and physical function recorded on the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) immediately after the 12 week intervention. Participants will also be followed up at 36 weeks post baseline.
Conclusions
The trial design has important strengths of reproducibility and reflecting contemporary physiotherapy practice. The findings from this randomised trial will provide evidence for the efficacy of a physiotherapy program for painful hip OA.
Trial Registration
Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry reference: ACTRN12610000439044
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-238
PMCID: PMC2966457  PMID: 20946621
13.  Effects of an exercise and manual therapy program on physical impairments, function and quality-of-life in people with osteoporotic vertebral fracture: a randomised, single-blind controlled pilot trial 
Background
This randomised, single-blind controlled pilot trial aimed to determine the effectiveness of a physiotherapy program, including exercise and manual therapy, in reducing impairments and improving physical function and health-related quality of life in people with a history of painful osteoporotic vertebral fracture.
Methods
20 participants were randomly allocated to an intervention (n = 11) or control (n = 9) group. The intervention group attended individual sessions with an experienced clinician once a week for 10 weeks and performed daily home exercises with adherence monitored by a self-report diary. The control group received no treatment. Blinded assessment was conducted at baseline and 11 weeks. Questionnaires assessed self-reported changes in back pain, physical function, and health-related quality of life. Objective measures of thoracic kyphosis, back and shoulder muscle endurance (Timed Loaded Standing Test), and function (Timed Up and Go test) were also taken.
Results
Compared with the control group, the intervention group showed significant reductions in pain during movement (mean difference (95% CI) -1.8 (-3.5 to -0.1)) and at rest (-2.0 (-3.8 to -0.2)) and significantly greater improvements in Qualeffo physical function (-4.8 (-9.2 to -0.5)) and the Timed Loaded Standing test (46.7 (16.1 to 77.3) secs). For the perceived change in back pain over the 10 weeks, 9/11 (82%) participants in the intervention group rated their pain as 'much better' compared with only 1/9 (11%) participants in the control group.
Conclusion
Despite the modest sample size, these results support the benefits of exercise and manual therapy in the clinical management of patients with osteoporotic vertebral fractures, but need to be confirmed in a larger sample.
Trail registration
NCT00638768
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-11-36
PMCID: PMC2830179  PMID: 20163739
14.  Laterally wedged insoles in knee osteoarthritis: do biomechanical effects decline after one month of wear? 
Objective
This study aimed to determine whether the effect of laterally wedged insoles on the adduction moment in knee osteoarthritis (OA) declined after one month of wear, and whether higher reported use of insoles was associated with a reduced effect on the adduction moment at one month.
Methods
Twenty people with medial compartment OA underwent gait analysis in their own shoes wearing i) no insoles and; ii) insoles wedged laterally 5° in random order. Testing occurred at baseline and after one month of use of the insoles. Participants recorded daily use of insoles in a log-book. Outcomes were the first and second peak external knee adduction moment and the adduction angular impulse, compared across conditions and time with repeated measures general linear models. Correlations were obtained between total insole use and change in gait parameters with used insoles at one month, and change scores were compared between high and low users of insoles using general linear models.
Results
There was a significant main effect for condition, whereby insoles significantly reduced the adduction moment (all p < 0.001). However there was no significant main effect for time, nor was an interaction effect evident. No significant associations were observed between total insole use and change in gait parameters with used insoles at one month, nor was there a difference in effectiveness of insoles between high and low users of the insoles at this time.
Conclusion
Effects of laterally wedged insoles on the adduction moment do not appear to decline after one month of continuous use, suggesting that significant wedge degradation does not occur over the short-term.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-10-146
PMCID: PMC2791095  PMID: 19939281
15.  The effects of hip muscle strengthening on knee load, pain, and function in people with knee osteoarthritis: a protocol for a randomised, single-blind controlled trial 
Background
Lower limb strengthening exercises are an important component of the treatment for knee osteoarthritis (OA). Strengthening the hip abductor and adductor muscles may influence joint loading and/or OA-related symptoms, but no study has evaluated these hypotheses directly. The aim of this randomised, single-blind controlled trial is to determine whether hip abductor and adductor muscle strengthening can reduce knee load and improve pain and physical function in people with medial compartment knee OA.
Methods/Design
88 participants with painful, radiographically confirmed medial compartment knee OA and varus alignment will be recruited from the community and randomly allocated to a hip strengthening or control group using concealed allocation stratified by disease severity. The hip strengthening group will perform 6 exercises to strengthen the hip abductor and adductor muscles at home 5 times per week for 12 weeks. They will consult with a physiotherapist on 7 occasions to be taught the exercises and progress exercise resistance. The control group will be requested to continue with their usual care. Blinded follow up assessment will be conducted at 12 weeks after randomisation. The primary outcome measure is the change in the peak external knee adduction moment measured during walking. Questionnaires will assess changes in pain and physical function as well as overall perceived rating of change. An intention-to-treat analysis will be performed using linear regression modelling and adjusting for baseline outcome values and other demographic characteristics.
Discussion
Results from this trial will contribute to the evidence regarding the effect of hip strengthening on knee loads and symptoms in people with medial compartment knee OA. If shown to reduce the knee adduction moment, hip strengthening has the potential to slow disease progression.
Trial Registration
Australia New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry ACTR12607000001493
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-8-121
PMCID: PMC2235855  PMID: 18067658

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