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Combined exercise programme most effective in knee and hip OA

Combined programmes of flexibility, strengthening and aerobic exercise are most likely to relieve pain and improve function in patients with knee and hip osteoarthritis, according to a meta-analysis just published in the BMJ.

Researchers at the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre at Keele University used 60 trials - 44 on knee OA, two on hip and 14 mixed - covering 12 exercise interventions including 8218 patients.

The following were more effective than no exercise for pain relief:

- strengthening

- flexibility plus strengthening

- flexibility plus strengthening plus aerobic

- aquatic strengthening

- aquatic strengthening plus flexibility

A combined intervention of strengthening, flexibility, and aerobic exercise was also significantly more effective than no exercise control for improving limitation in function.



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