KNEE PAIN: Strength training little help
March 04, 2021 • 1 min read
-- Clinical trial shows strength training no better than counselling for easing knee pain
The advice makes sense: strengthen muscles around the knee joint to combat osteoarthritis and its associated pain.
Not so fast.
A study published in JAMA concluded that strength training did not help knee pain.
The 18-month clinical trial involving 377 participants measured perceived pain for two groups that lifted weights and a third group that was simply counselled on “healthy living”.
All three groups reported similar levels of slightly less pain.
The results were put to Dr David Felson, a professor of medicine at Boston University, who argued that the study did not find strength training was useless. Instead, the trial showed that aggressive strength training was not helpful and might actually be harmful, especially if the arthritic knees are bowed inward or outward, as is common.
Study lead Stephen Messier, a professor of biomechanics at Wake Forest University, still urges patients to exercise, saying it can stave off an inevitable decline in muscle strength and mobility.
He added that in his experience the best non-pharmaceutical intervention for knee arthritis pain was a 10% weight loss and moderate exercise.