Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Hip or Knee Strengthening for Knee Arthritis

November 16, 2015

Knee arthritis (knee OA) is the most common form of osteoarthritis and affects many individuals in middle to older age.  This condition can be found on x ray or MRI testing in both asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals.  The high rates of false positive imaging findings require a thorough subjective and objective examination in order to make a proper diagnosis.  Physical Therapy remains an effective first line treatment for patients with knee OA and has been shown to reduce or eliminate the need for a knee replacement.  At our Physical Therapy office, patients will receive manual therapy to reduce pain and improve mobility, as well as, exercises to strengthen the hips and knees.  Until recently we have known if working on the hip or knee was more effective. 

Lun et al. randomized 72 patients with knee OA to either a hip or knee focused exercise program consisting of stretching and strengthening exercises (Clin J Sp Med. 2015).  Patients exercises in clinic 3-5 times per week for 3 weeks then were placed on a 9 week home exercise program.  The impact of this 12 week program on the patients’ symptoms and function was measured at the end of the trial.  The authors found improvement in both groups of patients, but no differences were found between groups focusing on either knee or hip exercises.  

This study adds to the positive impact of exercise in patients with knee OA.  In our experience, treating the entire lower quarter in patients with knee OA accelerates recovery and improves function.  To learn more about which exercises are most appropriate for your condition contact the experts at Mend.