Background: A conservative management strategy for knee osteoarthritis can include exercise therapy. Exercise therapy is hypothesized to reduce knee adduction. The effects of exercise therapy on knee adduction, along with other physical parameters, were assessed in a systematic review in people with knee osteoarthritis.
Methods: Searches performed on the following electronic databases: MEDLINE, Google Scholar, Cochrane Central, EMBASE, and OpenGrey. Study participants with knee osteoarthritis undergoing structured exercise therapy were randomized controlled trials. For every study, we conducted independent analyses to extract data and analyze the bias risks. We calculated the mean differences and 95 % confidence intervals for each outcome.
Findings: In three studies that involved 233 participants, there were no significant differences in knee adduction moments between intervention and control groups. Two of the studies observed improvements in physical function after exercise therapy, and one of them demonstrated significant reductions in pain. All three trials favored the intervention group in terms of muscle strength and torque.
Interpretation: A change in knee adduction time was not associated with the therapeutic benefits of exercise therapy. Exercise therapy for knee osteoarthritis may not be effective if there is no momentary adduction. Dynamic joint loading may result from a shift in neuromuscular control after exercise therapy.