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Eur J Phys Rehabil Med. 2012 Dec;48(4):561-7. Epub 2012 Apr 20.

Ultrasound-guided aspiration and corticosteroid injection compared to horizontal therapy for treatment of knee osteoarthritis complicated with Baker's cyst: a randomized, controlled trial.

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Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Unit, Azienda Policlinico Umberto I, Rome, Italy.



Combining different therapies, physical therapy agents, pharmacological and physical therapies, generally produces better outcomes for symptoms of knee osteoarthritis (OA) than do isolated therapies.


To demonstrate if horizontal therapy (HT) and aspiration alone and corticosteroid injection alone or in combination determine pain relief and functional improvement in a group of patients with knee OA complicated with Baker's cyst (BC).


We designed a randomized controlled trial (RCT).




Sixty patients with a knee OA and diagnosis of BC confirmed by means of standard ultrasound (US) evaluation.


The trial was conducted as a randomized, controlled trial. Patients who satisfied the inclusion criteria were randomized to either the US-guided (Ultrasound Guided BC aspiration and corticosteroid injection group (Group A), the Horizontal Therapy group (Group B) or the US-guided BC aspiration and corticosteroid injection plus Horizontal therapy group (Group C). Outcome measures included: 1) pain reduction as measured by visual analogue scale (VAS); 2) functional improvement, as measured by WOMAC; and 3) US evaluation at baseline (T0), at one (T1) and four (T2) weeks follow-up.


A total of 60 patients were randomized into group A (N.=20), group B (N.=20) or Group C (N.=20). Patients in group A and in group C, but not those in group B maintained lower pain level at T2 than at baseline, with significant lower VAS values in Group C. As regards US measurements, the maximum axial area did not change as a consequence of the treatment in any of the three groups (P=0.259). Contrarily, sagittal area measurements were influenced by time (P<0.01).


Our results show that the group with the best performance for pain, functionality and dimension of BC was that in which combined use was made of horizontal and corticosteroid injection therapies.


In this study we want to demonstrate the effectiveness of Horizontal Therapy in the treatment of knee OA complicated by BC.

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