To assess the effectiveness of a 12-week self-management and exercise intervention (the PLE2NO program) in elderly individuals with knee osteoarthritis.Design:
Randomized controlled trial.Setting:
Four different community settings.Subjects:
Eighty individuals aged 60 years or older with clinical and radiographic knee osteoarthritis enrolled in the study.Intervention:
A combined self-management and exercise intervention (treatment group) and an educational intervention (control group).Main measures:
The primary outcomes were pain and other knee osteoarthritis symptoms (swelling, crackling, limitation on movement, and stiffness), self-management behaviors (communication with physician and cognitive symptom management), and functional lower limb strength. Secondary outcomes were knee osteoarthritis–specific health-related quality of life, self-perceived health, aerobic capacity, lower and upper limb flexibility, and handgrip strength.Results:
In all, 67 participants, mean age 69.1 ± 5.8 years, completed the study: 32 in the Educational Group and 35 in the Self-Management and Exercise Group. A significant group effect favorable to the Self-Management and Exercise Group was observed in the following variables: communication with the physicians (P = .048), aerobic capacity (P = .035), and functional lower limb strength (P = .015). Although no significant group effect was detected, clinical improvements in pain (31%) and knee osteoarthritis symptoms (29%) were observed in the experimental group. No improvements regarding cognitive symptom management, self-perceived health, lower limb flexibility, and handgrip strength were found.Conclusion:
This study supports the importance of a combined self-management and exercise intervention to improve functional lower limb strength and aerobic capacity in a Portuguese sample. Additionally, pain and other symptoms have improved clinically.