30 November 2001
People with osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee or hip must keep exercising to maintain benefits such as reduced pain and disability, Dutch researchers claim.
They found exercise is effective in these patients but beneficial effects decline over time and disappear if they stop exercising. The study was reported in the medical journal Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases (2001;60:1123-1130).
At 24 weeks, 12 weeks after completing a 12-week programme, exercise treatment was associated with a small to moderate effect on pain during the past week, although no effects were found for the participants' use of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or brufen) or observed disability.
But at 36 weeks, (24 weeks after the programme) no differences were found between exercise and no-exercise groups.
'Beneficial effects for pain and disability were maximal at week 12, just after completion of treatment,' researchers said.
Results were in line with a study in healthy older adults, which found beneficial effects on cardiovascular capacity and muscle strength decreased after stopping exercise.
Last Reviewed: 27 November 2001