Table 10Adverse events reported with physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis

TreatmentDefinition of Adverse EventsStudiesPatientsRelative Risk Number Needed To Treat To HarmStrength of Evidence
Diathermy vs. placeboAdverse event including mild pain, mild swelling, feeling of vasodilatation, deterioration of pain, or needed operation11681131.13 (0.30 to 4.31)Low
E-stim vs. placeboMild skin reaction2140, 1711361.02 (0.53 to 1.97)Low
Interferential (IF) and patterned muscle stimulation vs. low-current transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulationAdverse event including skin irritation, skin burns, muscle soreness, electrical shock, and unanticipated adverse events12491090.57 (0.20 to 1.58)Low
Aquatic exercise vs. land-based exerciseIncreased pain during and after exercise, or swollen knees194520.25 (0.08 to 0.80)
3 (2 to 10)
Low
Aquatic exercise vs. land-based exerciseDiscontinuation due to adverse effects194520.14 (0.01 to 2.54)Low
Home based progressive exercise vs. home based control exerciseAdverse event, not specified12501790.60 (0.21 to 1.78)Low
8 mm laterally wedged insole vs. 12 mm laterally wedged insolePopliteal pain, low back pain, or foot sole pain1190410.7 (0.13 to 3.76)Low
8 mm laterally wedged insole vs. 16 mm laterally wedged insolePopliteal pain, low back pain, or foot sole pain1190410.23 (0.06 to 0.95)
3 (2 to 13)
Low
12 mm laterally wedged insole vs. 16 mm laterally wedged insolePopliteal pain, low back pain, or foot sole pain1190420.33 (0.10 to 1.06)Low
Strapped insole vs. Inserted insolePopliteal pain, low back pain, or foot sole pain1129905.74 (0.72 to 45.77)Low
5 degree lateral wedge insole vs. neutrally wedged insoleMusculoskeletal symptoms11831800.6 (0.231 to 1.58)Low
5 degree lateral wedge insole vs. neutrally wedged insoleBlisters11831800.2 (0.02 to 1.68)Low
5 degree lateral wedge insole vs. neutrally wedged insoleFalls11831801.33 (0.31 to 5.79)Low
5 degree laterally wedged insole vs. neutrally wedged insoleSelf reported problems with insoles11771792.02 (1.31 to 3.12)
4(3 to 10)
Low
5 degree laterally wedged insole vs. neutrally wedged insoleBack pain11771799.10 (1.18 to 70.35)
11 (6 to 42)
Low
5 degree laterally wedged insole vs. neutrally wedged insoleFoot pain11771792.31 (1.33 to 4.03)Low
5 degree laterally wedged insole vs. neutrally wedged insoleUncomfortable or difficulty fitting in shoes11771793.79 (1.31 to 10.99)
5 (3 to 13)
Low
5 degree laterally wedged insole vs. neutrally wedged insoleIncreased knee pain11771790.40 (0.08 to 2.031)Low
5 degree laterally wedged insole vs. neutrally wedged insoleFelt unstable11771790.34 (0.01 to 8.16)Low
5 degree laterally wedged insole vs. neutrally wedged insoleAny discomfort11771631.79 (1.17 to 2.74)Low
Medial insole vs. neutrally wedged insoleMild discomfort1177300.29 (0.01 to 6.69)Low
PEMF vs. placeboGrumbling or throbbing sensation1155901 (0.27 to 3.75)Low
PEMF vs. placeboWarming sensation1155906 (0.75 to 47.85)Low
PEMF vs. placeboAggravation of the osteoarthritic pain in the study knee1155902 (0.19 to 21.28)Low
Therapeutic tape vs. control tapeSkin irritation1137588 (1.07 to 59.95)
4 (2;15)
Low

E-stim = electrical stimulation; PEMF = pulsed electromagnetic fields

Note: Bold = statistically significant association at 95% confidence level

From: Results

Cover of Physical Therapy Interventions for Knee Pain Secondary to Osteoarthritis
Physical Therapy Interventions for Knee Pain Secondary to Osteoarthritis [Internet].
Comparative Effectiveness Reviews, No. 77.
Shamliyan TA, Wang SY, Olson-Kellogg B, et al.

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