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Exercise Adherence Helps Osteoarthritis Patients

Those who stick with home exercise plans and have greater physical activity have better outcomes

FRIDAY, July 30 (HealthDay News) -- Greater adherence to home exercise and more physical activity in general appear to enhance the long-term effectiveness of exercise therapy in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip and/or knee, according to research published in the August issue of Arthritis Care & Research.

Martijn F. Pisters, P.T., of the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research in Utrecht, and colleagues followed 150 patients with osteoarthritis of the hip and/or knee receiving exercise therapy for 60 months to determine the effect that adherence to their exercise plan during and after the prescribed physical therapy period had on pain, physical function, and the patients' self-perceived effect.

The researchers found a significant association between adherence to home exercise and greater physical activity and pain, physical function, physical performance, and self-perceived effect that was consistent over time. Exercise adherence was significantly associated with less pain and improvements in physical function and performance. Adherence to home activities was linked to better self-perceived effect only. The researchers also noted a decline in exercise adherence after completion of physical therapy: at the 15- and 60-month follow-ups, only 44.1 and 30.1 percent of patients, respectively, were still exercising.

"Better adherence to recommended home exercises as well as being more physically active improves the long-term effectiveness of exercise therapy in patients with osteoarthritis of the hip and/or knee," the authors write. "Since exercise adherence declines over time, future research should focus on how exercise behavior can be stimulated and maintained in the long-term."

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