Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

How Much Exercise Do I Need A Week To Improve Knee Arthritis?

May 5, 2023

Knee arthritis is one of the most common knee pain conditions treated in our Boulder Physical Therapy and Lafayette Physical Therapy offices. Physical Therapy remains the gold standard of care for the conservative treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Multiple research studies support the utilization of manual therapy and exercise for patients with this condition. Including articles demonstrating Physical Therapy delays or prevents the need for a total knee replacement surgery. One of the main benefits of working with a Physical Therapist is finding the best exercise prescription for each patient’s knee symptoms and goals. Allow their appears to be an initial dose response curve with exercise for this condition authors have suggested a point of diminishing returns with higher levels of exercise.

Torstensen and colleagues recently conducted a randomized controlled trial comparing the effectiveness of high vs. low volumes of exercise for patients with knee arthritis. Authors randomized 189 patients with knee arthritis to one of two groups based on the volume of exercise performed. Patient’s in each group performed aerobic, joint specific, and compound joint movements 3 times a week for 12 weeks with a Physical Therapist but differed in the amount of exercises and total time spend during each session. The low and high dose groups worked with 5 exercises for 20-30 minutes and 11 exercises for 70-90 minutes, respectively. Although both groups improved, authors noted no significant differences between the high or low volume groups except on one outcome. A participant’s level of sports and higher functional activity participation was higher in the high volume group.

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