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Stepped Exercise Program for Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis : A Randomized Controlled Trial.

Allen KD, Woolson S, Hoenig HM, Bongiorni D, Byrd J, Caves K, Hall KS, Heiderscheit B, Hodges NJ, Huffman KM, Morey MC, Ramasunder S, Severson H, Van Houtven C, Abbate LM, Coffman CJ. Stepped Exercise Program for Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis : A Randomized Controlled Trial. Annals of internal medicine. 2021 Mar 1; 174(3):298-307.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: Evidence-based models are needed to deliver exercise-related services for knee osteoarthritis efficiently and according to patient needs OBJECTIVE: To examine a stepped exercise program for patients with knee osteoarthritis (STEP-KOA). DESIGN: Randomized controlled trial. (ClinicalTrials.gov: NCT02653768). SETTING: 2 U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs sites. PARTICIPANTS: 345 patients (mean age, 60 years; 15% female; 67% people of color) with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis. INTERVENTION: Participants were randomly assigned in a 2:1 ratio to STEP-KOA or an arthritis education (AE) control group, respectively. The STEP-KOA intervention began with 3 months of an internet-based exercise program (step 1). Participants who did not meet response criteria for improvement in pain and function after step 1 progressed to step 2, which involved 3 months of biweekly physical activity coaching calls. Participants who did not meet response criteria after step 2 went on to in-person physical therapy visits (step 3). The AE group received educational materials via mail every 2 weeks. MEASUREMENTS: Primary outcome was Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) score. Scores for the STEP-KOA and AE groups at 9 months were compared by using linear mixed models. RESULTS: In the STEP-KOA group, 65% of participants (150 of 230) progressed to step 2 and 35% (81 of 230) to step 3. The estimated baseline WOMAC score for the full sample was 47.5 (95% CI, 45.7 to 49.2). At 9-month follow-up, the estimated mean WOMAC score was 6.8 points (CI, -10.5 to -3.2 points) lower in the STEP-KOA than the AE group, indicating greater improvement. LIMITATION: Participants were mostly male veterans, and follow-up was limited. CONCLUSION: Veterans in STEP-KOA reported modest improvements in knee osteoarthritis symptoms compared with the control group. The STEP-KOA strategy may be efficient for delivering exercise therapies for knee osteoarthritis. PRIMARY FUNDING SOURCE: Department of Veterans Affairs, Health Services Research and Development Service.





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