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BMJ Clin Evid. 2007 Sep 1;2007. pii: 1121.

Osteoarthritis of the knee.

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Department of Rheumatology, King's College Medical School, London, UK.



Osteoarthritis of the knee affects about 10% of adults aged over 60 years, with risk increased in those with obesity, and joint damage or abnormalities. Progression of disease on x rays is commonplace, but x ray changes don't correlate well with clinical symptoms.


We conducted a systematic review and aimed to answer the following clinical questions: What are the effects of non-surgical treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee? What are the effects of surgical treatments for osteoarthritis of the knee? We searched: Medline, Embase, The Cochrane Library and other important databases up to October 2006 (Clinical Evidence reviews are updated periodically, please check our website for the most up-to-date version of this review). We included harms alerts from relevant organisations such as the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).


We found 74 systematic reviews, RCTs, or observational studies that met our inclusion criteria. We performed a GRADE evaluation of the quality of evidence for interventions.


In this systematic review we present information relating to the effectiveness and safety of the following interventions: acupuncture, capsaicin, chondroitin, education to aid self-management, exercise and physiotherapy, glucosamine, insoles, intra-articular corticosteroids, intra-articular hyaluronan, joint bracing, knee replacement, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (including topical non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), opioid analgesics, osteotomy, simple analgesics, and taping.

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