High-intensity strength training does not significantly improve knee pain with osteoarthritis compared with low-intensity strength training or a control condition, according to a study published in the Feb. 16 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Stephen P. Messier, Ph.D., from Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and colleagues assessed the efficacy of high-intensity strength training in patients with knee osteoarthritis. The analysis included 320 community-dwelling adults (≥50 years old) with a body mass index (BMI) ranging from 20 to 45 and with knee pain and radiographic knee osteoarthritis. Participants were randomly assigned to high-intensity strength training (127 patients), low-intensity strength training (126 patients), or attention control (124 patients).
The researchers found that Western Ontario McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index knee pain scores at the 18-month follow-up were not statistically significantly different between the high-intensity group and the control group (P = 0.61) or between the high-intensity and low-intensity groups (P = 0.08). Additionally, there were no statistically significant differences noted between the high-intensity group and the control group with respect to mean knee joint compressive forces (P = 0.61) nor between the high-intensity and low-intensity groups (P = 0.85). There were 13 serious adverse events unrelated to the study (high-intensity, five events; low-intensity, three events; control, five events).
“The findings do not support the use of high-intensity strength training over low-intensity strength training or an attention control in adults with knee osteoarthritis,” the authors write.
Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries.