Health & Wellness

Simple Exercises May Mitigate Need for Knee Replacement

By Wendy Haaf

In a recent trial, most people who were eligible for a knee replacement opted not to go ahead with surgery after they used a simple home-based exercise program.

In the study, 117 people with knee osteoarthritis deemed severe enough to merit such an operation were shown how to perform a seated exercise to strengthen the extensor muscles responsible for straightening the knee. All participants were provided with a resistance band, along with instructions on how to adjust the difficulty level so they could repeat the movement exactly 12 times before the muscles became too tired to continue. Each participant also agreed to carry out exercise sessions (consisting of three sets of 12 repetitions) at home over the next 12 weeks. They were then randomly assigned one of three session frequencies: two, four, or six times a week.

After three months, all groups experienced similar gains in strength and ability to walk and climb stairs. Self-ratings of pain and knee function improved across the board, but the benefits were greater with two sessions a week than with six. More importantly, 67.5 per cent of patients decided they didn’t need surgery; 32.5 per cent opted to go ahead with the operation.

Source: Osteoarthritis and Cartilage


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