The effects of resistance exercise in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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To analyze the effectiveness of resistance exercise in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis on pain, stiffness, and physical function.


Systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Data sources:

PubMed, Embase, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, the Web of Science, and Chinese Biomedical Literature Database were searched from the date of inception to August 2015.


Trials comparing effects of resistance exercise intervention with either non-intervention or psycho-educational intervention were selected by two reviewers independently. The risk of bias was assessed and studies with similar outcomes were pooled using a fixed or random effects model.


Data from 17 randomized clinical trials including 1705 patients were integrated. The main source of methodological bias in the selected studies was lack of double blinding. The meta-analysis results suggested that resistance exercise training relieved pain (standard mean difference [SMD]: -0.43; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.57 to -0.29; P < 0.001), alleviated stiffness (SMD: -0.31; 95%: CI -0.56 to -0.05; P = 0.02), and improved physical function (SMD -0.53; 95% CI: -0.70 to -0.37; P < 0.001).


Resistance exercise is beneficial in terms of reducing pain, alleviating stiffness, and improving physical function in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

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