This study aims to compare the efficacy of r-ESWT treatment with sham-ESWT on pain, walking speed, physical function, and isokinetic muscle strength in knee osteoarthritis.
The study included 104 patients (mean age 61.0 ± 6.2 years; range 50 to 70 years) who were admitted to our outpatient clinic with newly diagnosed with knee osteoarthritis. Patients were randomly assigned to two groups. Both groups received transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation for 30 minutes, hot pack for 40 minutes, and home-based exercise program of around the knee strengthening for 30 minutes in a day for three weeks (5 days in a week). Also, one group was treated with r-ESWT, while the other group was treated with sham-ESWT. For r-ESWT, patients received 2000 pulses of shockwave at 2.0 to 3.0 bar weekly for three weeks. All patients were evaluated with visual analog scale (VAS), active knee range of motion (ROM), 20-metre walk test, Western Ontario and McMaster Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), Lequesne’s disability index, and isokinetic muscle performance before treatment, at the end of treatment, at one month and three months after treatment.
When groups were compared, group 1 scores were significantly better than the group 2 in all outcome parameters except WOMAC-stiffness at the end of treatment, at one month and three month follow-up (all p < 0.05). The VAS-resting, VAS-movement, knee ROM, 20-m walk test, WOMAC, and Lequesne’s disability scores and peak torque values of knee extension improved in both groups with the highest improvement in the r-ESWT group. A comparison of difference of the two group scores showed statistically significant superior improvement in group 1 in all parameters at both one month and three months.
Our findings revealed that r-ESWT combined with conventional electrotherapy is an effective treatment for improving pain and physical function in knee osteoarthritis to control symptoms up to three months.