Hyaluronic acid intra-articular injection and exercise therapy: Effects on pain and disability in subjects affected by lower limb joints osteoarthritis A systematic review by the Italian Society of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (SIMFER)

Marco Monticone, Antonio Frizziero, Giancarlo Rovere, Filippo Vittadini, Domenico Uliano, Silvano La Bruna, Renato Gatto, Claudia Nava, Vittorio Leggero, Stefano Masiero

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: It is debated whether intra-articular viscosupplementation with hyaluronic acid (HA) can lead to improvements in subjects with osteoarthritis (OA) undergoing physical and rehabilitative interventions. AIM: To assess the effects of intra-articular viscosupplementation on disability in subjects with OA undergoing physical and rehabilitative interventions. Information on pain and quality of life were also collected. METHODS: The databases of PubMed, Medline, EMbase and CINAHL were searched for English language full-text randomized controlled trials comparing intra-articular viscosupplementation alone or associated with physical and rehabilitative interventions to viscosupplementation alone, shame treatment, waiting lists, and any type of rehabilitative interventions. Methodological quality of each study was assessed by using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database (PEDro) Scale. RESULTS: A total of 115 references were retrieved, and 8 studies were selected. Three trials compared HA injection and physical therapy in knee OA, with disability and pain improvements in all studies, and between-group differences in favor of physical therapy in two studies; two trials compared HA injection and home exercises in knee OA, with improvements in pain, disability and quality of life in all studies, without between-group differences; two trials compared HA injection plus physical therapy agents and exercises to exercises plus physical therapy agents in knee OA, with improvements in disability and pain in both studies, and between-group differences in favor of the inclusion HA in one study; one trial compared HA injection and home exercises in ankle OA, with improvements in disability and pain in both arms without between-group differences. CONCLUSION: Physical therapy agents seemed to have greater effects than intra-articular viscosupplementation on disability and pain. In the other cases both intra-articular viscosupplementation and physical and rehabilitative interventions seemed to be equally effective in improving disability, pain, and quality of life in subjects with knee and ankle OA. CLINICAL REHABILITATION IMPACT: A treatment model associating intra-articular viscosupplementation to physical and rehabilitative interventions seems promising but more high quality RCTs are needed before it can be suggested.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)389-399
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine
Volume52
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2016

Keywords

  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Intra-articular injection
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Physical exercises
  • Physical therapy modality
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation

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