OBJECTIVE To assess the effects of one intra-articular corticosteroid injection two weeks prior to an exercise-based intervention program for reducing pain sensitivity in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). DESIGN Randomized, masked, parallel, placebo-controlled trial involving 100 participants with clinical and radiographic knee OA that were randomized to one intra-articular injection on the knee with either 1 ml of 40 mg/ml methylprednisolone (corticosteroid) dissolved in 4 ml lidocaine (10 mg/ml) or 1 ml isotonic saline (placebo) mixed with 4 ml lidocaine (10 mg/ml). Two weeks after the injections all participants undertook a 12-week supervised exercise program. Main outcomes were changes from baseline in pressure-pain sensitivity (pressure-pain threshold [PPT] and temporal summation [TS]) assessed using cuff pressure algometry on the calf. These were exploratory outcomes from a randomized controlled trial. RESULTS A total of 100 patients were randomized to receive either corticosteroid (n = 50) or placebo (n = 50); 45 and 44, respectively, completed the trial. Four participants had missing values for PPT and one for TS at baseline; thus modified intention-to-treat populations were analyzed. The mean group difference in changes from baseline at week 14 was 0.6 kPa (95% CI: -1.7 to 2.8; P = 0.626) for PPT and 384 mm×sec (95% CI: -2980 to 3750; P = 0.821) for TS. CONCLUSIONS These results suggest that adding intra-articular corticosteroid injection 2 weeks prior to an exercise program does not provide additional benefits compared to placebo in reducing pain sensitivity in patients with knee OA. TRIAL REGISTRATION EU clinical trials (EudraCT): 2012-002607-18.
Soriano-Maldonado, A., Klokker, L., Bartholdy, C., Bandak, E., Ellegaard, K., Bliddal, H., & Henriksen, M. (2016). Intra-articular corticosteroids in addition to exercise for reducing pain sensitivity in knee osteoarthritis: Exploratory outcome from a randomized controlled trial. PLoS ONE, 11(2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0149168