Effects of kinesthesia and balance exercises in knee osteoarthritis.
BACKGROUND: In patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA), there is a prominent loss in proprioception and kinesthesia sensation compared with control subjects of the same age and gender. OBJECTIVES: The aim of this study is the investigation of short-term clinical effects of kinesthesia and balance exercises in patients with knee OA. METHODS: This 8-week study was conducted on 66 female patients with knee OA who were randomized into 2 groups. The first group received kinesthesia and balance exercises (such as retrowalking, walking on their toes, leaning to the sides, balance board exercises, minitrampoline exercises, plyometric exercises, and so on) in addition to strengthening exercises. The second group received only strengthening exercises. RESULTS:: Statistically significant improvements were observed postexercise for both groups with respect to baseline for WOMAC, SF-36 Form, times for performing activities of daily living, isokinetic quadriceps muscle strength, and proprioceptive sensation levels. In the first group with kinesthesia training, compared with the second group, significantly greater improvements were obtained in all the subparameters that measure functional status (WOMAC-physical function value, SF-36 Form [physical function, role limitations-physical and vitality-energy or fatigue variables], 10 stairs climbing, and 10-m walking times) and in isokinetic muscle strength at high angular velocities (P < 0.05). The absolute angular error percentage (to assess proprioceptive accuracy) was significantly improved postexercise in both groups. There were no differences between the groups. CONCLUSIONS: Additive positive effects of kinesthesia and balance exercises in knee OA have been demonstrated. Used in clinical applications, they should be able to increase the functional capacities of patients. Long-term studies about efficacy and cost-effectivity of these exercises are needed.