Iulia-Rahela Marcu, Ion Toma and Adrian Costin Bighea
Quality of life studies in patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA) attest to the significant impact of the disease on day-to-day activities and social interactions. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of a physical exercise program on functional status and quality of life in patients with work-related knee osteoarthritis. The present study included 144 participants with knee osteoarthritis, 72% women, mean age (SD) 47.2 (11.1) years. The patients were randomly assigned in two lots based on the type of kinetic treatment: lot A-with knee OA and medication (72 patients) and lot B- with knee OA, medication and exercise program (72 patients). They followed for 12 days ambulatory exercise programs based on increasing knee flexion, muscular strength and endurance, improving balance, coordination, and respiratory exercises. The patients in the control group continued their daily living activities. The evaluation was made at the beginning of the study (T0), after 2 weeks (T1) and 8 weeks after the 12 days of exercise program (T2) and was based on the following parameters: knee mobility (knee flexion), muscular strength, pain assessment on a Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), functional status (Western Ontario &McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index - WOMAC) and quality of life evaluation using SF-36 Questionnaire (36-Item Short Form Survey). Out of 144 participants who completed the initial evaluation, 138 also completed the 2 weeks and the 8 weeks follow-up assessments: 70 patients from the control lot and 68 patients from the exercise lot. The benefits of the kinetic programs were shown by a significant improvement in knee mobility and muscular strength for knee extensors (quadriceps muscle) and knee flexor muscles. Testing the linear correlations between the SF-36 score and the VAS (r=0.71, p<0.05) and WOMAC (r=0.83, p<0.05) indicators demonstrates a highly positive relationship between the quality of life expression, the pain assessment score and the functional status score in patients with knee OA. The physical exercise program improves both functional status and quality of life in patients with work-related knee osteoarthritis by increasing the range of motion and muscular strength and by reducing pain.