Exercise or Medication for Knee Osteoarthritis? $0.00

Exercise or Medication for Knee Osteoarthritis?

By: Holsgaard-Larsen A, et al. | Oct 25, 2018
Exercise vs Medication


Researchers in Denmark published long-term results of their “EXERPHARMA” study comparing an exercise program to medication in patients with knee osteoarthritis in the journal, Osteoarthritis and Cartilage.

93 patients with early knee osteoarthritis in their tibiofemoral joint were randomly assigned to either an 8-week neuromuscular exercise program or medication (acetaminophen and oral NSAIDs) group. The exercise protocol included exercise balls, elastic resistance, and foam balance pads.

After the 12-month follow-up, the exercise group had better compliance; 49% of exercise participants completed greater than 12 sessions, while only 7% of the medication group took at least half their daily dose greater than 28 days. While there was no statistically significant difference between groups in ADL outcomes, the exercise group had greater improvements in their symptoms.

The authors concluded (despite poor compliance in both groups) that neuromuscular exercise “could be the superior choice for long-term relief of symptoms such as swelling, stiffness, and mechanical problems while avoiding the potential side effects of analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs.”

Exercise vs Medication

Holsgaard-Larsen A, et al. One year effectiveness of neuromuscular exercise compared with instruction in analgesic use on knee function in patients with early knee osteoarthritis: the EXERPHARMA randomized trial. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2018 Jan;26(1):28-33.