6.1 Effects of Whole Body Vibration Exercise associated with Quadriceps Resistance Exercise on functioning and quality of life in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial

Journal: Clinical Rehabilitation 2016, Vol 30(11):1074-1087 – Wang P. et al.

Study Context: This is the largest randomized controlled trial ever performed on osteoarthritis using whole body vibration exercise.

Subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee were randomly assigned to receive either quadriceps resistance exercises (QRE) or the same plus whole body vibration exercises (QRE + WBV). Training was 5 days per week for a total of 24 weeks.

After the 24 weeks of training, researchers found improvements in the QRE + WBV group above and beyond quadriceps exercise only. Improvements were noted in:

  • Pain: Decreased pain from 6% at 2 weeks to 46.7% after 24 weeks of training
  • Timed up and go test: Improvements of 1.9 to 8.3 seconds over 2 to 24 weeks
  • 6 Minute Walk test: Increased distance from 12 to 171 meters over 2 to 24 weeks

Researchers concluded that: over a 6 month period, WBV exercise in combination with QRE was superior to QRE alone in most outcomes

Comments: The study added an interesting element of blood (serum COMP) and urine (CTX-II) testing. These markers represent bone and cartilage activity in joints and they were noted to improve after only 2 weeks of vibration training. It is hypothesized that the improvements noted by adding WBV exercise to the usual knee strengthening exercises is related to improved turnover and remodelling of bone and cartilage in people with arthritis.

This study used a static squat position on the vibration platform – it will be interesting to see an arthritis study that considers pain free dynamic exercises such as squats and lunges on the same platform. Our experience suggests that even greater gains might be seen.