Hip abductor strength improves long-term function in knee osteoarthritis

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hip abductor muscles, knee arthritis, knee osteoarthritis, arthritis digest magazineBuild up strength in hip abductor muscles to lower the impact of knee osteoarthritis after research shows the muscle group may be more important than previously realised. The hip abductor muscles include the gluteus maximus and minimus (ie the buttock) and the tensor fascia lata (an outer thigh muscle).

Studies have shown that hip strengthening exercises reduce pain and improve function in the short-term but the long-term effects have been unclear.

Now a team has examined the association between hip abductor strength with function and disability outcomes in 187 people with knee osteoarthritis, who were followed for five years. They also looked at the relationship between hip abductor strength and cartilage damage worsening over two years in 165 patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Greater hip abductor strength reduced the likelihood of poor chair stand rates and the inability to participate in major life tasks in people who had good quadricep muscle strength too over a five-year period. It also reduced the likelihood of poor knee cartilage outcomes over a two-year period.

“We found that greater hip abductor strength appeared to confer additional beneficial effects on both joint health and long-term function and disability,” says study author Dr Alison Chang. “Improvements of combined hip and knee strengthening were maintained beyond the intervention period.”

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