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Phys Ther. 2008 Jan;88(1):123-36. Epub 2007 Nov 6.

Physical therapy interventions for patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: an overview of systematic reviews.

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Norwegian Centre for the Health Services, PO Box 7004, St Olavs Plass, N-0130 Oslo, Norway.


Patients with osteoarthritis of the knee are commonly treated by physical therapists. Practice should be informed by updated evidence from systematic reviews. The purpose of this article is to summarize the evidence from systematic reviews on the effectiveness of physical therapy for patients with knee osteoarthritis. Systematic reviews published between 2000 and 2007 were identified by a comprehensive literature search. We graded the quality of evidence across reviews for each comparison and outcome. Twenty-three systematic reviews on physical therapy interventions for patients with knee osteoarthritis were included. There is high-quality evidence that exercise and weight reduction reduce pain and improve physical function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. There is moderate-quality evidence that acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and low-level laser therapy reduce pain and that psychoeducational interventions improve psychological outcomes. For other interventions and outcomes, the quality of evidence is low or there is no evidence from systematic reviews.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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