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  Integrated approach to knee osteoarthritis may be best (1/18/2006)
By: Reuters Health

NEW YORK (Reuters Health), Jan 18, 2006 - Therapy that includes exercise, ultrasound, and hyaluranic acid treatment appears to be effective against the pain and disability associated with knee osteoarthritis, according to a report by Taiwanese researchers. To determine if an integrated approach combining a variety of methods can benefit osteoarthritis patients, Dr. Mao-Hsiung Huang and colleagues at Kaohsiung Medical University Hospital evaluated 140 patients with bilateral moderate knee osteoarthritis.

The subjects were randomized to a control group; to receive isokinetic muscular strengthening exercises alone or in combination with pulse ultrasound; or to receive both of these interventions as well as intra-articular hyaluronan therapy. Treatments sessions were conducted three times per week for eight weeks.

All patients who received treatment showed increased muscle peak torque and significant reductions in pain and disability after treatment and after eight-week follow-up, the researchers report in the December 15th issue of Arthritis and Rheumatism.

Patients in groups with two or three interventions showed significant improvements in range of motion and ambulation, as well as significant gains in muscular strength. Patients in groups with three interventions had the greatest gains in muscle strength and also showed the greatest increase in walking speed and decrease in disability.

"Osteoarthritis is not a simple wear-and-tear phenomenon," the researchers point out. Therefore, they conclude that an integrated therapeutic approach with multiple interventions is indicated for successful management.

Last Updated: 2006-01-17 13:30:16 -0400 (Reuters Health)
Arthritis Rheum 2005;53:812-820.
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