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Background: Quadriceps strengthening exercises and infrared radiation therapy had been shown to be effective in improving pain, function and quality of life in subjects with knee osteoarthritis (OA). The aim of this study was to determine the efficacy of these modalities of treatment in the management of symptomatic knee OA in a south- eastern Nigerian population using knee joint pain intensity, quadriceps muscle strength and 30.4metres walk-time as outcome measures. Materials and Methods: Participants diagnosed of symptomatic knee OA were randomly distributed into two groups: Study group (quadriceps strengthening exercises and infrared radiation therapy) and Control group (placebo). Each participant in both groups was given one tablet of vitamin B complex twice daily. The participants in the study group in addition, performed supervised quadriceps strengthening exercises (isometric and isotonic) and were administered Infrared radiation therapy three times per week. Each participant was treated for seven consecutive weeks.
Results: The participants comprised 21 (32.81%) males and 43 (67.19%) females. The male to female ratio was 1:2. At the end of the seven weeks, there was a statistically significant reduction in knee joint pain intensity score (p<0.05), 30.4m walking time (p< 0.05) and a significant increase in quadriceps muscle strength (p< 0.05) in the study group. There was no statistically significant change (p>0.05) in any of the outcome measures in the control group.
Conclusion: Combination of quadriceps strengthening exercises and infrared radiation therapy significantly alleviated symptoms in subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee.