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Abstract

Kinesthesia, balance and agility (KBA) neuromuscular exercises are commonly used for rehabilitation of lower extremity injuries. KBA combined with strength training (ST) reportedly improves function among persons with knee osteoarthritis (OA), but independent effects of KBA are unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of KBA exercises, independent of ST, to improve function among persons with knee OA. Twenty participants (69.3, SD 11.4 y) were randomized to 8 weeks, 3-days per week, instructor-lead KBA or ST groups. Self-reported physical function (difficulty with daily living activities such as walking, bending, stair climbing, etc.) was measured at baseline and every two weeks. Community physical activity level, negative and positive outcome expectancies for exercise, self-reported knee stability, and timed 10-stair climb, 10-stair descent, and ‘get up and go’ 15 m walk were measured at baseline and follow-up. Physical function improved 59% (p = 0.02) with KBA and 40% (p = 0.02) with ST at 8 weeks. Community physical activity level improved only in KBA (p = 0.04); knee stability improved in both KBA (p = 0.04) and ST (p = 0.01). There were no significant between-group differences (p > 0.05). In conclusion, both interventions appear to improve function and knee stability among persons with symptomatic knee OA. As KBA has never been studied as an independent treatment program, our results indicate it is a promising stand-alone intervention worthy of further study.