Knee Pain – Osteoarthritis of the Knee

BMC Musculoskelet Disord.  2012 Jun 6;13(1):88. [Epub ahead of print]

I-ONE therapy in patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty: a prospective, randomized and controlled study.

Moretti B, Notarnicola A, Moretti L, Setti S, De Terlizzi F, Pesce V, Patella V.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Total knee arthroplasty (TKA) is often associated with a severe local inflammatory reaction which, unless controlled, leads to persistent pain up to one year after surgery. Standard and accelerated rehabilitation protocols are currently being implemented after TKA, but no consensus exists regarding the long-term effects. Biophysical stimulation with pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) has been demonstrated to exert an anti-inflammatory effect, to promote early functional recovery and to maintain a positive long-term effect in patients undergoing joint arthroscopy. The aim of this study was to evaluate whether PEMFs can be used to limit the pain and enhance patient recovery after TKA.

METHODS:

A prospective, randomized, controlled study in 30 patients undergoing TKA was conducted. Patients were randomized into experimental PEMFs or a control group. Patients in the experimental group were instructed to use I-ONE stimulator 4hours/day for 60days. Postoperatively, all patients received the same rehabilitation program. Treatment outcome was assessed using the Knee Society Score, SF-36 Health-Survey and VAS. Patients were evaluated pre-operatively and one, two, six and 12 months after TKA. Joint swelling and Non Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drug (NSAID) consumption were recorded. Comparisons between the two groups were carried out using a two-tail heteroschedastic Student’s t-test. Analysis of variance for each individual subject during the study was performed using ANOVA for multiple comparisons, applied on each group, and a Dunnet post hoc test. A p value<0.05 was considered statistically significant.

RESULTS:

Pre-operatively, no differences were observed between groups in terms of age, sex, weight, height, Knee-Score, VAS, SF-36 and joint swelling, with the exception of the Functional Score. The Knee-Score, SF-36 and VAS demonstrated significantly positive outcomes in the I-ONE stimulated group compared with the controls at follow-ups. In the I-ONE group, NSAID use was reduced and joint swelling resolution was more rapid than in controls. The effect of I-ONE therapy was maintained after use of the device was discontinued.

CONCLUSIONS:

The results of the study show early functional recovery in the I-ONE group. I-ONE therapy should be considered after TKA to prevent the inflammatory reaction elicited by surgery, for pain relief and to speed functional recovery.

Rheumatol Int.  2012 Mar 27. [Epub ahead of print]

Non-invasive electromagnetic field therapy produces rapid and substantial pain reduction in early knee osteoarthritis: a randomized double-blind pilot study.

Nelson FR, Zvirbulis R, Pilla AA.

Source

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Henry Ford Hospital, CFP 644, 2799 West Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI, 48202, USA, fnelson1@hfhs.org.

Abstract

This study examined whether a non-thermal, non-invasive, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF), known to modulate the calmodulin (CaM)-dependent nitric oxide (NO)/cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) signaling pathway, could reduce pain in early knee OA. This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind pilot clinical study enrolled 34 patients. Patient selection required initial VAS ?4, 2 h of standing activity per day, and no recent interventions such as cortisone injections or surgery. Results showed VAS pain score decreased in the active cohort by 50 ± 11 % versus baseline starting at day 1 and persisting to day 42 (P < 0.001). There was no significant decrease in VAS versus baseline at any time point in the sham cohort (P = 0.227). The overall decrease in mean VAS score for the active cohort was nearly threefold that of the sham cohort (P < 0.001). The results suggest that non-thermal, non-invasive PEMF therapy can have a significant and rapid impact on pain from early knee OA and that larger clinical trials are warranted.

J Rehabil Med. 2009 Nov;41(13):1090-5.

Effect of biomagnetic therapy versus physiotherapy for treatment of knee osteoarthritis: a randomized controlled trial.

Gremion G, Gaillard D, Leyvraz PF, Jolles BM.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery (DAL), Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois, University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of pulsed signal therapy in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis (Kellgren II or III).

METHODS: A randomized, double-blind controlled clinical trial. The first 95 patients sent to the clinic with knee osteo-arthritis were selected and randomized into treatment with pulsed signal therapy or conventional physiotherapy. Assessment included recording of usual demographic data, pertinent history, baseline medication and radiographs. Clinical evaluation was made at baseline, 6 weeks and 6 months after the end of treatment by the same blinded doctor. At each follow-up time, the patient was asked to complete a visual analogue pain scale and a Lequesne score. The doctor recorded the degree of pain on motion and the ability to move the affected knee.

RESULTS: Both treatments resulted in significant improvements in pain and physical function. A statistical difference was observed only for activities of daily living, where the physiotherapy was more efficient (p<0.03). The cost of treatment with pulsed signal therapy was significantly higher, double the treatment cost of conventional physiotherapy.

CONCLUSION: Like physiotherapy, pulsed signal therapy has improved the clinical state of treated patients but with no significant statistical difference. Pulsed signal therapy is, however, more expensive.

J Rehabil Med. 2009 May;41(6):406-11.

Effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

Vavken P, Arrich F, Schuhfried O, Dorotka R.

Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Children’s Hospital Boston, 300 Longwood Avenue, Enders 1016, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Patrick.vavken@childrens.harvard.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess the effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic fields compared with placebo in the management of osteoarthritis of the knee.

DATA SOURCES: A systematic review of PubMed, EMBASE, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register.

METHODS: Randomized, controlled trials reporting on the blinded comparison of pulsed electromagnetic fields with placebo were included. Validity was tested according to the Jadad Scale. Studies were pooled using fixed-effects and random-effects models after exclusion of publication bias and assessment of heterogeneity. Sensitivity analyses and meta-regression were performed to test the stability of our findings.

RESULTS: Nine studies, including 483 patients, were pooled. No significant difference could be shown for pain (weighted mean difference 0.2 patients; 95% confidence interval (CI): -0.4 to 0.8) or stiffness (weighted mean difference 0.3; 95% CI: -0.3 to 0.9). There was a significant effect on activities of daily living (weighted mean difference 0.8; 95% CI 0.2-1.4, p = 0.014) and scores (standardized mean difference 0.4; 95% CI: 0.05-0.8, p = 0.029). We saw only statistically insignificant differences between studies with different treatment protocols.

CONCLUSION: Pulsed electromagnetic fields improve clinical scores and function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee and should be considered as adjuvant therapies in their management. There is still equipoise of evidence for an effect on pain in the current literature.

Rheumatol Int. 2009 Apr;29(6):663-6. Epub 2008 Nov 18.

The effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.

Ay S, Evcik D.

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Ufuk University School of Medicine Doctor Ridvan Ege Hospital, Balgat, 06520, Ankara, Turkey.saimeay@yahoo.com

Abstract

In this study, we planned to investigate the effects of pulse electromagnetic field (PEMF) on pain relief and functional capacity of patients with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Fifty-five patients with knee OA were included in a randomized, placebo-controlled study. At the end of the therapy, there was statistically significant improvement in pain scores in both groups (P < 0.05). However, no significant difference was observed within the groups (P > 0.05). We observed statistically significant improvement in some of the subgroups of Lequesne index. These are morning stiffness and activities of daily living activities compared to placebo group. However, we could not observe statistically significant differences in total of the scale between two groups (P > 0.05). Applying between-group analysis, we were unable to demonstrate a beneficial symptomatic effect of PEMF in the treatment of knee OA in all patients. Further studies using different types of magnetic devices, treatment protocols and patient populations are warranted to confirm the general efficacy of PEMF therapy in OA and other conditions.

Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2007 Jul;15(7):830-4. Epub 2007 Feb 28.

Effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields on patients’ recovery after arthroscopic surgery: prospective, randomized and double-blind study.

Zorzi C, Dall’Oca C, Cadossi R, Setti S.

“Sacro Cuore Don Calabria” Hospital, Via don A. Sempreboni 5, 37024 Negrar (Vr), Italy.

Abstract

Severe joint inflammation following trauma, arthroscopic surgery or infection can damage articular cartilage, thus every effort should be made to protect cartilage from the catabolic effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines and stimulate cartilage anabolic activities. Previous pre-clinical studies have shown that pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMFs) can protect articular cartilage from the catabolic effects of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and prevent its degeneration, finally resulting in chondroprotection. These findings provide the rational to support the study of the effect of PEMFs in humans after arthroscopic surgery. The purpose of this pilot, randomized, prospective and double-blind study was to evaluate the effects of PEMFs in patients undergoing arthroscopic treatment of knee cartilage. Patients with knee pain were recruited and treated by arthroscopy with chondroabrasion and/or perforations and/or radiofrequencies. They were randomized into two groups: a control group (magnetic field at 0.05 mT) and an active group (magnetic field of 1.5 mT). All patients were instructed to use PEMFs for 90 days, 6 h per day. The patients were evaluated by the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) test before arthroscopy, and after 45 and 90 days. The use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to control pain was also recorded. Patients were interviewed for the long-term outcome 3 years after arthroscopic surgery. Thirty-one patients completed the treatment. KOOS values at 45 and 90 days were higher in the active group and the difference was significant at 90 days (P < 0.05). The percentage of patients who used NSAIDs was 26% in the active group and 75% in the control group (P = 0.015). At 3 years follow-up, the number of patients who completely recovered was higher in the active group compared to the control group (P < 0.05). Treatment with I-ONE aided patient recovery after arthroscopic surgery, reduced the use of NSAIDs, and also had a positive long-term effect.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2007 Jun 22;8:51.

Short-term efficacy of physical interventions in osteoarthritic knee pain. A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomised placebo-controlled trials.

Bjordal JM, Johnson MI, Lopes-Martins RA, Bogen B, Chow R, Ljunggren AE.

Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, Institute of Physiotherapy, Bergen University College, Moellendalsvn, Bergen Norway. jmb@hib.no

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Treatment efficacy of physical agents in osteoarthritis of the knee (OAK) pain has been largely unknown, and this systematic review was aimed at assessing their short-term efficacies for pain relief.

METHODS: Systematic review with meta-analysis of efficacy within 1-4 weeks and at follow up at 1-12 weeks after the end of treatment.

RESULTS: 36 randomised placebo-controlled trials (RCTs) were identified with 2434 patients where 1391 patients received active treatment. 33 trials satisfied three or more out of five methodological criteria (Jadad scale). The patient sample had a mean age of 65.1 years and mean baseline pain of 62.9 mm on a 100 mm visual analogue scale (VAS). Within 4 weeks of the commencement of treatment manual acupuncture, static magnets and ultrasound therapies did not offer statistically significant short-term pain relief over placebo. Pulsed electromagnetic fields offered a small reduction in pain of 6.9 mm [95% CI: 2.2 to 11.6] (n = 487). Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS, including interferential currents), electro-acupuncture (EA) and low level laser therapy (LLLT) offered clinically relevant pain relieving effects of 18.8 mm [95% CI: 9.6 to 28.1] (n = 414), 21.9 mm [95% CI: 17.3 to 26.5] (n = 73) and 17.7 mm [95% CI: 8.1 to 27.3] (n = 343) on VAS respectively versus placebo control. In a subgroup analysis of trials with assumed optimal doses, short-term efficacy increased to 22.2 mm [95% CI: 18.1 to 26.3] for TENS, and 24.2 mm [95% CI: 17.3 to 31.3] for LLLT on VAS. Follow-up data up to 12 weeks were sparse, but positive effects seemed to persist for at least 4 weeks after the course of LLLT, EA and TENS treatment was stopped.

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2006 Jun 15;7:51.

Pulsed electromagnetic energy treatment offers no clinical benefit in reducing the pain of knee osteoarthritis: a systematic review.

McCarthy CJ, Callaghan MJ, Oldham JA.

Warwick Emergency Care and Rehabilitation, Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL, UK. C.J.McCarthy@warwick.ac.uk

Abstract

BACKGROUND: The rehabilitation of knee osteoarthritis often includes electrotherapeutic modalities as well as advice and exercise. One commonly used modality is pulsed electromagnetic field therapy (PEMF). PEMF uses electro magnetically generated fields to promote tissue repair and healing rates. Its equivocal benefit over placebo treatment has been previously suggested however recently a number of randomised controlled trials have been published that have allowed a systematic review to be conducted.

METHODS: A systematic review of the literature from 1966 to 2005 was undertaken. Relevant computerised bibliographic databases were searched and papers reviewed independently by two reviewers for quality using validated criteria for assessment. The key outcomes of pain and functional disability were analysed with weighted and standardised mean differences being calculated.

RESULTS: Five randomised controlled trials comparing PEMF with placebo were identified. The weighted mean differences of the five papers for improvement in pain and function, were small and their 95% confidence intervals included the null.

CONCLUSION: This systematic review provides further evidence that PEMF has little value in the management of knee osteoarthritis. There appears to be clear evidence for the recommendation that PEMF does not significantly reduce the pain of knee osteoarthritis.

Z Orthop Ihre Grenzgeb. 2005 Sep-Oct;143(5):544-50.

Adjuvant treatment of knee osteoarthritis with weak pulsing magnetic fields. Results of a placebo-controlled trial prospective clinical trial.

[Article in German]

Fischer G, Pelka RB, Barovic J.

Institut für Hygiene an der Universität Graz, Osterreich.

Abstract

PURPOSE: The aim of this study was the objective control of the therapeutic effect of weak pulsing magnetic fields (series of periodically repeating square pulses increasing according to an e-function, frequencies of 10, 20, 30, and 200-300 Hz) by means of a double-blind study on osteoarthritis of the knee. Measured parameters were the Knee Society score, pain sensation, blood count and cardiocirculatory values.

METHODS: 36 placebo and 35 verum test persons (all with a knee gap smaller than 3 mm) were exposed daily for 16 minutes over 6 weeks to a low frequency magnetic field (flux densities increasing gradually from 3.4 up to 13.6 microT) encompassing the whole body. The last data collection was made 4 weeks after the end of treatment.

RESULTS: Principally, the statistically ensured results exclusively favour the used magnetic field therapy; by far the greatest number of at least significant differences was found at the end of the whole treatment, lasting 6 weeks. In particular, it is striking that all 4 questioned pain scales showed at least significant improvements in favour of the verum collective; also the walking distance was increased. As another confirmed fact, even after 4 weeks without therapy the persistence of several functional and analgesic effects could be documented.

CONCLUSIONS: Predominantly, on the one hand, pain relief in osteoarthritis patients was confirmed by a double-blind trial, on the other hand, increases in mobility could be proven. Furthermore, we describe mainly the modes of action of low frequency magnetic energy and 3 physical concepts that are seen as the connecting link between electromagnetic fields coupled into connective tissue and biochemical repair and growth processes in bones and cartilage. Proceeding from the results of this and preceding studies, one has to consider seriously whether this kind of magnetic field application should not be employed as cost-effective and side effect-free alternative or adjuvant form of therapy in the field of orthopaedic disorders.

Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2005 Jul;13(7):575-81.

Treatment of knee osteoarthritis with pulsed electromagnetic fields: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Thamsborg G, Florescu A, Oturai P, Fallentin E, Tritsaris K, Dissing S.

Department of Geriatri and Rheumatology, Glostrup Hospital, 2600 Glostrup, Denmark.

OBJECTIVE: The investigation aimed at determining the effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee by conducting a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

DESIGN: The trial consisted of 2h daily treatment 5 days per week for 6 weeks in 83 patients with knee OA. Patient evaluations were done at baseline and after 2 and 6 weeks of treatment. A follow-up evaluation was done 6 weeks after treatment. Activities of daily living (ADL), pain and stiffness were evaluated using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) questionnaire.

RESULTS: Within group analysis revealed a significant improvement in ADL, stiffness and pain in the PEMF-treated group at all evaluations. In the control group there was no effect on ADL after 2 weeks and a weak significance was seen after 6 and 12 weeks. Significant effects were seen on pain at all evaluations and on stiffness after 6 and 12 weeks. Between group analysis did not reveal significant improvements over time. Analysis of ADL score for the PEMF-treated group revealed a significant correlation between less improvement and increasing age. Analysis of patients <65 years using between group analysis revealed a significant improvement for stiffness on treated knee after 2 weeks, but this effect was not observed for ADL and pain.

CONCLUSIONS: Applying between group analysis we were unable to demonstrate a beneficial symptomatic effect of PEMF in the treatment of knee OA in all patients. However, in patients <65 years of age there is significant and beneficial effect of treatment related to stiffness

J Orthop Res. 2005 Jul;23(4):899-908. Epub 2005 Mar 17.

Pulsed electromagnetic fields reduce knee osteoarthritic lesion progression in the aged Dunkin Hartley guinea pig.

Fini M, Giavaresi G, Torricelli P, Cavani F, Setti S, Cane V, Giardino R.

Department of Experimental Surgery, Codivilla-Putti Research Institute, Rizzoli Institute of Orthopaedics, Via di Barbiano, 1/10, 40136 Bologna, Italy. milena.fini@ior.it

An experimental in vivo study was performed to test if the effect of Pulsed Electromagnetic Fields (PEMFs) on chondrocyte metabolism and adenosine A2a agonist activity could have a chondroprotective effect on the knee of Dunkin Hartley guinea-pigs of 12 months with spontaneously developed osteoarthritis (OA). After a pilot study, 10 animals were randomly divided into two groups: PEMF-treated group (6 h/day for 3 months) and Sham-treated group. Microradiography and histomorphometry were performed on the entire articular surface of knee joints used in evaluating chondropathy severity, cartilage thickness (CT), cartilage surface Fibrillation Index (FI), subchondral bone plate thickness (SBT) and histomorphometric characteristics of trabecular epiphyseal bone. The PEMF-treated animals showed a significant reduction of chondropathy progression in all knee examined areas (p<0.05). CT was significantly higher (p<0.001) in the medial tibia plateaus of the PEMF-treated group when compared to the Sham-treated group. The highest value of FI was observed in the medial tibia plateau of the Sham-treated group (p<0.05). Significant lower values were observed in SBT of PEMF-treated group in comparison to Sham-treated group in all knee examined areas (p<0.05). The present study results show that PEMFs preserve the morphology of articular cartilage and slower the progression of OA lesions in the knee of aged osteoarthritic guinea pigs. The chondroprotective effect of PEMFs was demonstrated not only in the medial tibial plateau but also on the entire articular surface of the knee.

Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2004 Sep-Oct;22(5):568-72.

Efficacy and safety of a musically modulated electromagnetic field (TAMMEF) in patients affected by knee osteoarthritis.

Battisti E, Piazza E, Rigato M, Nuti R, Bianciardi L, Scribano A, Giordano N.

Department of Medical Physics, University of Siena, Italy.battistie@unisi.it

OBJECTIVE: Numerous studies have demonstrated the utility of extremely low frequencies (ELF) electromagnetic fields in clinical practice. Moreover, the effects of these fields seems to depend on their respective codes (frequency, intensity, waveform). In our study we want to value the effects of the TAMMEF (Therapeutic Application of a Musically Modulated Electromagnetic Field) system, which field is piloted by a musical signal.

METHODS: Ninety subjects, affected by primary osteoarthritis of the knee, were enrolled in the study and randomly divided into three groups of 30 patients each: A exposed to TAMMEF, B exposed to ELF, C exposed to a simulated field. All subjects underwent a cycle of 15 daily sessions of 30 minutes each and a clinical examination upon enrolment, after 7 days of therapy, at the end of the cycle and at a follow-up 30 days later:

RESULTS: All the patients of groups A and B completed the therapy without the appearance of side effects: they presented a significant improvement of the subjective pain and the functional limitation, which remained stable at the follow-up examination. In group C, there was no improvement of the pain symptoms or articular functionality.

CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that the TAMMEF system is efficacious in the control of pain symptoms and in the reduction of functional limitation in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Moreover, the effects of the TAMMEF system cover those produced by the ELF field.

Altern Ther Health Med. 2004 Mar-Apr;10(2):36-43.

Double-blind placebo-controlled trial of static magnets for the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee: results of a pilot study.

Wolsko PM, Eisenberg DM, Simon LS, Davis RB, Walleczek J, Mayo-Smith M, Kaptchuk TJ, Phillips RS.

Division for Research and Education, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

CONTEXT: Outpatient clinical studies of magnet therapy, a complementary therapy commonly used to treat osteoarthritis (OA), have been limited by the absence of a credible placebo control.

OBJECTIVE: Our objective was to assess the feasibility and promise of studying static magnetic therapy for knee OA and determine the ability of a new placebo-magnet device to provide concealment of group assignment.

DESIGN: Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.

SETTING: Academic teaching hospital in Boston.

PARTICIPANTS: We enrolled 29 subjects with idiopathic or post-traumatic OA of the knee.

INTERVENTIONS: Subjects received either high-strength magnetic (active) or placebo-magnetic (placebo) knee sleeve treatment for 4 hours in a monitored setting and self-treatment 6 hours daily for 6 weeks.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcomes were change in knee pain as measured by the WOMAC Osteoarthritis Index Pain Subscale at 6 weeks and extent of group concealment at study end. RESULTS: At 4 hours, VAS pain scores (+/- SE) on a 5-item scale (0-500, 500 worst) decreased 79 +/- 18 mm in the active group and 10 +/- 21 mm in the placebo group (P < 0.05). There were no significant differences in any primary or secondary measure of efficacy between the treatment groups at 6 weeks. Despite widespread testing for magnetic properties, at study end, 69% of the active group and 77% of the placebo group (P > 0.2) believed that they had been assigned to the active treatment group.

CONCLUSION: Despite our small sample size, magnets showed statistically significant efficacy compared to placebo after 4 hours under rigorously controlled conditions. The sustained efficacy of magnetic therapy for knee osteoarthritis could be assessed in an adequately powered trial utilizing an appropriate control such our new placebo-magnet device.

Altern Ther Health Med. 2002 Jul-Aug;8(4):50-5.

Effects of static magnets on chronic knee pain and physical function: a double-blind study.

Hinman MR, Ford J, Heyl H.

Department of Physical Therapy, University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, USA.

CONTEXT: Static magnets have become an increasingly popular alternative therapy for individuals with musculoskeletal pain despite limited scientific evidence to support their efficacy or safety.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effects of static magnets on the pain and functional limitations associated with chronic knee pain due to degenerative joint disease.

DESIGN: Double-blind, randomized, controlled clinical trial.

SETTING: Pretests and posttests were conducted in an academic health science center.

PARTICIPANTS: Forty-three ambulatory subjects with chronic pain in 1 or both knee joints who were recruited from outpatient clinics or who volunteered to participate.

INTERVENTION: Subjects wore pads containing magnets or placebos over their painful knee joints for 2 weeks.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Self-administered ratings of pain and physical function using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and a timed 15-m (50-ft) walk.

RESULTS: Multivariate analysis of covariance revealed significantly greater improvements in the group wearing magnets (P=.002). Univariate analyses indicated that comparative changes in self-rated pain and physical function (P=.002 and .001, respectively) were greater than changes in gait speed (P=.042).

CONCLUSIONS: The application of static magnets over painful knee joints appears to reduce pain and enhance functional movement. However, further study is needed to determine the physiological mechanisms responsible for this analgesic effect.

Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;(1):CD003523.

Electromagnetic fields for the treatment of osteoarthritis.

Hulme J, Robinson V, DeBie R, Wells G, Judd M, Tugwell P.

Cochrane Collaborating Center, Center for Global Health, Institute of Population Health – University of Ottawa, 1 Stewart Street, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, K1N 6N5. jhulme@uottawa.ca

BACKGROUND: As the focus for osteoarthritis (OA) treatment shifts away from drug therapy, we consider the effectiveness of pulsed electric stimulation which is proven to stimulate cartilage growth on the cellular level.

OBJECTIVES: 1)To assess the effectiveness of pulsed electric stimulation for the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA). 2) To assess the most effective and efficient method of applying an electromagnetic field, through pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) or electric stimulation, as well as the consideration of length of treatment, dosage, and the frequency of the applications.

SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched PREMEDLINE, MEDLINE, HealthSTAR, CINAHL, PEDro, and the Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (CCTR) up to and including 2001. This included searches through the coordinating offices of the trials registries of the Cochrane Field of Physical and Related Therapies and the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group for further published and unpublished articles. The electronic search was complemented by hand searches and experts in the area.

SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomized controlled trials and controlled clinical trials that compared PEMF or direct electric stimulation against placebo in patients with OA.

DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two reviewers determined the studies to be included in the review based on inclusion and exclusion criteria (JH,VR) and extracted the data using pre-developed extraction forms for the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Group. The methodological quality of the trials was assessed by the same reviewers using a validated scale (Jadad 1996). Osteoarthritis outcome measures were extracted from the publications according to OMERACT guidelines (Bellamy 1997) and additional secondary outcomes considered.

MAIN RESULTS: Only three studies with a total of 259 OA patients were included in the review. Electrical stimulation therapy had a small to moderate effect on outcomes for knee OA, all statistically significant with clinical benefit ranging from 13-23% greater with active treatment than with placebo. Only 2 outcomes for cervical OA were significantly different with PEMF treatment and no clinical benefit can be reported with changes of 12% or less.

REVIEWER’S CONCLUSIONS: Current evidence suggests that electrical stimulation therapy may provide significant improvements for knee OA, but further studies are required to confirm whether the statistically significant results shown in these trials confer to important benefits.

Wien Klin Wochenschr. 2002 Aug 30;114(15-16):678-84.

Pulsed magnetic field therapy for osteoarthritis of the knee–a double-blind sham controlled trial.

Nikolakis P, Kollmitzer J, Crevenna R, Bitter C, Erdogmus CB, Nikolakis J.

Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, AKH Wien, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria. Peter.nicolakis@akh-wien.ac.at

BACKGROUND AND METHODS: Pulsed magnetic field therapy is frequently used to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis, although its efficacy has not been proven. We conducted a randomized, double-blind comparison of pulsed magnetic field and sham therapy in patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee. Patients were assigned to receive 84 sessions, each with a duration of 30 minutes, of either pulsed magnetic field or sham treatment. Patients administered the treatment on their own at home, twice a day for six weeks.

RESULTS: According to a sample size estimation, 36 consecutive patients were enrolled. 34 patients completed the study, two of whom had to be excluded from the statistical analysis, as they had not applied the PMF sufficiently. Thus, 15 verum and 17 sham-treated patients were enrolled in the statistical analysis. After six weeks of treatment the WOMAC Osteoarthritis Index was reduced in the pulsed magnetic field-group from 84.1 (+/- 45.1) to 49.7 (+/- 31.6), and from 73.7 (+/- 43.3) to 66.9 (+/- 52.9) in the sham-treated group (p = 0.03). The following secondary parameters improved in the pulsed magnetic field group more than they did in the sham group: gait speed at fast walking [+6.0 meters per minute (1.6 to 10.4) vs. -3.2 (-8.5 to 2.2)], stride length at fast walking [+6.9 cm (0.2 to 13.7) vs. -2.9 (-8.8 to 2.9)], and acceleration time in the isokinetic dynamometry strength tests [-7.0% (-15.2 to 1.3) vs. 10.1% (-0.3 to 20.6)].

CONCLUSION: In patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee, PMF treatment can reduce impairment in activities of daily life and improve knee function.

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2001 Oct;82(10):1453-60.

Two configurations of static magnetic fields for treating rheumatoid arthritis of the knee: a double-blind clinical trial.

Segal NA, Toda Y, Huston J, Saeki Y, Shimizu M, Fuchs H, Shimaoka Y, Holcomb R, McLean MJ.

Vanderbilt University Medical School, Nashville, TN 37232, USA.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To assess the efficacy of a nonpharmacologic, noninvasive static magnetic device as adjunctive therapy for knee pain in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA).

DESIGN: Randomized, double-blind, controlled, multisite clinical trial.

SETTING: An American and a Japanese academic medical center as well as 4 community rheumatology and orthopedics practices.

PATIENTS: Cohort of 64 patients over age 18 years with rheumatoid arthritis and persistent knee pain, rated greater than 40/100mm, despite appropriate use of medications.

INTERVENTION: Four blinded MagnaBloc (with 4 steep field gradients) or control devices (with 1 steep field gradient) were taped to a knee of each subject for 1 week.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: The American College of Rheumatology recommended core set of disease activity measures for RA clinical trials and subjects’ assessment of treatment outcome.

RESULTS: Subjects randomly assigned to the MagnaBloc (n = 38) and control treatment groups (n = 26) reported baseline pain levels of 63/100mm and 61/100mm, respectively. A greater reduction in reported pain in the MagnaBloc group was sustained through the 1-week follow-up (40.4% vs 25.9%) and corroborated by twice daily pain diary results (p < .0001 for each vs baseline). However, comparison between the 2 groups demonstrated a statistically insignificant difference (p < .23). Subjects in the MagnaBloc group reported an average decrease in their global assessment of disease activity of 33% over 1 week, as compared with a 2% decline in the control group (p < .01). After 1 week, 68% of the MagnaBloc treatment group reported feeling better or much better, compared with 27% of the control group, and 29% and 65%, respectively, reported feeling the same as before treatment (p < .01).

CONCLUSIONS: Both devices demonstrated statistically significant pain reduction in comparison to baseline, with concordance across multiple indices. However, a significant difference was not observed between the 2 treatment groups (p < .23). In future studies, the MagnaBloc treatment should be compared with a nonmagnetic placebo treatment to characterize further its therapeutic potential for treating RA. This study did elucidate methods for conducting clinical trials with magnetic devices.

Curr Med Res Opin. 2001;17(3):190-6.

Magnetic pulse treatment for knee osteoarthritis: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Pipitone N, Scott DL.

Rheumatology Department, King’s College Hospital (Dulwich), London, UK.

Abstract

We assessed the efficacy and tolerability of low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) therapy in patients with clinically symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA) in a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of six weeks’ duration. Patients with radiographic evidence and symptoms of OA (incompletely relieved by conventional treatments), according to the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology, were recruited from a single tertiary referral centre. 75 patients fulfilling the above criteria were randomised to receive active PEMF treatment by unipolar magnetic devices (Medicur) manufactured by Snowden Healthcare (Nottingham, UK) or placebo. Six patients failed to attend after the screening and were excluded from analysis. The primary outcome measure was reduction in overall pain assessed on a four-point Likert scale ranging from nil to severe. Secondary outcome measures included the WOMAC Osteoarthritis Index (Likert scale) and the EuroQol (Euro-Quality of Life, EQ-5D). Baseline assessments showed that the treatment groups were equally matched. Although there were no significant differences between active and sham treatment groups in respect of any outcome measure after treatment, paired analysis of the follow-up observations on each patient showed significant improvements in the actively treated group in the WOMAC global score (p = 0.018), WOMAC pain score (p = 0.065), WOMAC disability score (p = 0.019) and EuroQol score (p = 0.001) at study end compared to baseline. In contrast, there were no improvements in any variable in the placebo-treated group. There were no clinically relevant adverse effects attributable to active treatment. These results suggest that the Medicur unipolar magnetic devices are beneficial in reducing pain and disability in patients with knee OA resistant to conventional treatment in the absence of significant side-effects. Further studies using different types of magnetic devices, treatment protocols and patient populations are warranted to confirm the general efficacy of PEMF therapy in OA and other conditions.

Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 Sep-Oct;7(5):54-64, 66-9.

Low-amplitude, extremely low frequency magnetic fields for the treatment of osteoarthritic knees: a double-blind clinical study.

Jacobson JJ, Gorman R, Yamanashi WS, Saxena BB, Clayton L.

Institute of Theoretical Physics and Advanced Studies for Biophysical Research, Perspectivism Foundation, 2006 Mainsail Cir, Jupiter, FL 33477-1418, USA. drjjacobson@aol.com

CONTEXT: Noninvasive magnetotherapeutic approaches to bone healing have been successful in past clinical studies.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of low-amplitude, extremely low frequency magnetic fields on patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis.

DESIGN: Placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind clinical study.

SETTING: 4 outpatient clinics.

PARTICIPANTS: 176 patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups, the placebo group (magnet off) or the active group (magnet on).

INTERVENTION: 6-minute exposure to each magnetic field signal using 8 exposure sessions for each treatment session, the number of treatment sessions totaling 8 during a 2-week period, yielded patients being exposed to uniform magnetic fields for 48 minutes per treatment session 8 times in 2 weeks. The magnetic fields used in this study were generated by a Jacobson Resonator, which consists of two 18-inch diameter (46-cm diameter) coils connected in series, in turn connected to a function generator via an attenuator to obtain the specific amplitude and frequency. The range of magnetic field amplitudes used was from 2.74 x 10(-7) to 3.4 x 10(-8) G, with corresponding frequencies of 7.7 to 0.976 Hz.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Each subject rated his or her pain level from 1 (minimal) to 10 (maximal) before and after each treatment and 2 weeks after treatment. Subjects also recorded their pain intensity in a diary while outside the treatment environment for 2 weeks after the last treatment session (session 8) twice daily: upon awakening (within 15 minutes) and upon retiring (just before going to bed at night).

RESULTS: Reduction in pain after a treatment session was significantly (P < .001) greater in the magnet-on group (46%) compared to the magnet-off group (8%).

CONCLUSION: Low-amplitude, extremely low frequency magnetic fields are safe and effective for treating patients with chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis.

J Spinal Cord Med. 1999 Winter;22(4):239-45.

The effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields on osteoporosis at the knee in individuals with spinal cord injury.

Garland DE, Adkins RH, Matsuno NN, Stewart CA.

Rancho Los Amigos Medical Center, Downey, California 90242, USA.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of pulsed electromagnetic fields on osteoporotic bone at the knee in individuals with chronic spinal injury. The study consisted of 6 males with complete spinal cord injury at a minimum of 2 years duration. Bone mineral density (BMD) was obtained at both knees at initiation, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. In each case, 1 knee was stimulated using The Bone Growth Stimulator Model 3005 from American Medical Electronics, Incorporated and the opposite knee served as the control. Stimulation ceased at 6 months. At 3 months BMD increased in the stimulated knees 5.1% and declined in the control knees 6.6% (p < .05 and p < .02, respectively). By 6 months the BMD returned to near baseline values and at 12 months both knees had lost bone at a similar rate to 2.4% below baseline for the stimulated knee and 3.6% below baseline for the control. There were larger effects closer to the site of stimulation. While the stimulation appeared useful in retarding osteoporosis, the unexpected exaggerated decline in the control knees and reversal at 6 months suggests underlying mechanisms are more complex than originally anticipated. The authors believe a local as well as a systemic response was created.

Rheumatol. 1994 Oct;21(10):1903-11.

The effect of pulsed electromagnetic fields in the treatment of osteoarthritis of the knee and cervical spine.  Report of randomized, double blind, placebo controlled trials.

Trock DH, Bollet AJ, Markoll R.

Department of Medicine, Danbury Hospital, CT.

OBJECTIVE. We conducted a randomized, double blind clinical trial to determine the effectiveness of pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) in the treatment of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee and cervical spine.

METHODS. A controlled trial of 18 half-hour active or placebo treatments was conducted in 86 patients with OA of the knee and 81 patients with OA of the cervical spine, in which pain was evaluated using a 10 cm visual analog scale, activities of daily living using a series of questions (answered by the patient as never, sometimes, most of the time, or always), pain on passive motion (recorded as none, slight, moderate, or severe), and joint tenderness (recorded using a modified Ritchie scale). Global evaluations of improvement were made by the patient and examining physician. Evaluations were made at baseline, midway, end of treatment, and one month after completion of treatment.

RESULTS. Matched pair t tests showed extremely significant changes from baseline for the treated patients in both knee and cervical spine studies at the end of treatment and the one month followup observations, whereas the changes in the placebo patients showed lesser degrees of significance at the end of treatment, and had lost significance for most variables at the one month followup. Means of the treated group of patients with OA of the knee showed greater improvement from baseline values than the placebo group by the end of treatment and at the one month followup observation. Using the 2-tailed t test, at the end of treatment the differences in the means of the 2 groups reached statistical significance for pain, pain on motion, and both the patient overall assessment and the physician global assessment. The means of the treated patients with OA of the cervical spine showed greater improvement from baseline than the placebo group for most variables at the end of treatment and one month followup observations; these differences reached statistical significance at one or more observation points for pain, pain on motion, and tenderness.

CONCLUSION. PEMF has therapeutic benefit in painful OA of the knee or cervical spine.

Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 Sep-Oct;7(5):54-64, 66-9.

Low-amplitude, extremely low frequency magnetic fields for the treatment of osteoarthritic knees: a double-blind clinical study.

Jacobson J. et.al. Inst. for Biophysical Research, Jupiter, FL, USA

CONTEXT: Non-invasive magneto-therapeutic approaches to bone healing have been successful in past clinical studies.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of low-amplitude, extremely low frequency magnetic fields on patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis.

DESIGN: Placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind clinical study.

SETTING: 4 outpatient clinics.

PARTICIPANTS: 176 patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups, the placebo group (magnet off) or the active group (magnet on).

INTERVENTION: 6-minute exposure to each magnetic field signal using 8 exposure sessions for each treatment session, the number of treatment sessions totalling 8 during a 2-week period, yielded patients being exposed to uniform magnetic fields for 48 minutes per treatment session 8 times in 2 weeks. The magnetic fields used in this study were generated by a resonator, which consists of two 18-inch diameter (46-cm diameter) coils connected in series, in turn connected to a function generator via an attenuator to obtain the specific amplitude and frequency. The range of magnetic field amplitudes used was from 2.74 x 10(-7) to 3.4 x 10(-8) G, with corresponding frequencies of 7.7 to 0.976 Hz.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Each subject rated his or her pain level from 1 (minimal) to 10 (maximal) before and after each treatment and 2 weeks after treatment. Subjects also recorded their pain intensity in a diary while outside the treatment environment for 2 weeks after the last treatment session (session 8) twice daily: upon awakening (within 15 minutes) and upon retiring (just before going to bed at night).

RESULTS: Reduction in pain after a treatment session was significantly (P < .001) greater in the magnet-on group (46%) compared to the magnet-off group (8%).

CONCLUSION: Low-amplitude, extremely low frequency magnetic fields are safe and effective for treating patients with chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis.

Curr Med Res Opin. 2001;17(3):190-6.

Magnetic pulse treatment for knee osteoarthritis: a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study.

Pipitone N, Scott DL.

Rheumatology Department, King’s College Hospital (Dulwich), London, UK.

Abstract

We assessed the efficacy and tolerability of low-frequency pulsed electromagnetic fields (PEMF) therapy in patients with clinically symptomatic knee osteoarthritis (OA) in a randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind study of six weeks’ duration. Patients with radiographic evidence and symptoms of OA (incompletely relieved by conventional treatments), according to the criteria of the American College of Rheumatology, were recruited from a single tertiary referral centre. 75 patients fulfilling the above criteria were randomised to receive active PEMF treatment by unipolar magnetic devices (Medicur) manufactured by Snowden Healthcare (Nottingham, UK) or placebo. Six patients failed to attend after the screening and were excluded from analysis. The primary outcome measure was reduction in overall pain assessed on a four-point Likert scale ranging from nil to severe. Secondary outcome measures included the WOMAC Osteoarthritis Index (Likert scale) and the EuroQol (Euro-Quality of Life, EQ-5D). Baseline assessments showed that the treatment groups were equally matched. Although there were no significant differences between active and sham treatment groups in respect of any outcome measure after treatment, paired analysis of the follow-up observations on each patient showed significant improvements in the actively treated group in the WOMAC global score (p = 0.018), WOMAC pain score (p = 0.065), WOMAC disability score (p = 0.019) and EuroQol score (p = 0.001) at study end compared to baseline. In contrast, there were no improvements in any variable in the placebo-treated group. There were no clinically relevant adverse effects attributable to active treatment. These results suggest that the Medicur unipolar magnetic devices are beneficial in reducing pain and disability in patients with knee OA resistant to conventional treatment in the absence of significant side-effects. Further studies using different types of magnetic devices, treatment protocols and patient populations are warranted to confirm the general efficacy of PEMF therapy in OA and other conditions.

Altern Ther Health Med. 2001 Sep-Oct;7(5):54-64, 66-9.

Low-amplitude, extremely low frequency magnetic field for the treatment of osteoarthritic knees: a double-blind clinical study.

Jacobson JI, Gorman R, Yamanashi WS, Saxena BB, Clayton L.

Institute of Theoretical Physics and Advanced Studies for Biophysical Research, Perspectivism Foundation, 2006 Mainsail Cir, Jupiter, FL 33477-1418, USA. drjjacobson@aol.com

CONTEXT: Noninvasive magnetotherapeutic approaches to bone healing have been successful in past clinical studies.

OBJECTIVE: To determine the effectiveness of low-amplitude, extremely low frequency magnetic fields on patients with knee pain due to osteoarthritis. DESIGN: Placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind clinical study.

SETTING: 4 outpatient clinics.

PARTICIPANTS: 176 patients were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 groups, the placebo group (magnet off) or the active group (magnet on).

INTERVENTION: 6-minute exposure to each magnetic field signal using 8 exposure sessions for each treatment session, the number of treatment sessions totaling 8 during a 2-week period, yielded patients being exposed to uniform magnetic fields for 48 minutes per treatment session 8 times in 2 weeks. The magnetic fields used in this study were generated by a Jacobson Resonator, which consists of two 18-inch diameter (46-cm diameter) coils connected in series, in turn connected to a function generator via an attenuator to obtain the specific amplitude and frequency. The range of magnetic field amplitudes used was from 2.74 x 10(-7) to 3.4 x 10(-8) G, with corresponding frequencies of 7.7 to 0.976 Hz.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Each subject rated his or her pain level from 1 (minimal) to 10 (maximal) before and after each treatment and 2 weeks after treatment. Subjects also recorded their pain intensity in a diary while outside the treatment environment for 2 weeks after the last treatment session (session 8) twice daily: upon awakening (within 15 minutes) and upon retiring (just before going to bed at night).

RESULTS: Reduction in pain after a treatment session was significantly (P < .001) greater in the magnet-on group (46%) compared to the magnet-off group (8%).

CONCLUSION: Low-amplitude, extremely low frequency magnetic fields are safe and effective for treating patients with chronic knee pain due to osteoarthritis.

Bratisl Lek Listy. 1999 Dec;100(12):678-81.

Personal experience in the use of magnetotherapy in diseases of the musculoskeletal system.

[Article in Slovak]

Sadlonova J, Korpas J.

Ist Dpt of Internal Medicine, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine, Comenius University, Martin, Slovakia. bll@fmed.uniba.sk

Therapeutic application of pulsatile electromagnetic field in disorders of motility is recently becoming more frequent. Despite this fact information about the effectiveness of this therapy in the literature are rare. The aim of this study was therefore the treatment of 576 patients who suffered from vertebral syndrome, gonarthritis and coxarthritis. For application of pulsatile electromagnetic field MTU 500H Therapy System was used. Pulsatile electromagnetic field had a frequency valve of 4.5 mT in all studied groups and magnetic induction valve 12.5-18.75 mT in the 1st group. In the 2nd group the intensity was 5.8-7.3 mT and in the 3rd group it was 7.6-11.4 mT. The time of inclination/declination in the 1st group was 20/60 ms, in the 2nd group 40/80 ms and in the 3rd group 40/90 ms. The electromagnetic field was applied during 10 days. In the 1st-3rd day during 20 minutes and in the 4th-10th day during 30 minutes. The therapy was repeated in every patient after 3 months with values of intensity higher by 50%. In the time of pulsatile electro-magnetotherapy the patients were without pharmacotherapy or other physiotherapy. The application of pulsatile electromagnetic field is a very effective therapy of vertebral syndrome, gonarthritis and coxarthritis. The results have shown that the therapy was more effective in patients suffering from gonarthrosis, than in patients with vertebral syndrome and least effective in patients with coxarthosis. Owing to regression of oedema and pain relieve the motility of patients improved. (Tab. 3, Ref. 19.)

opr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult. 1996 Mar-Apr;(2):26-8.

New methodological aspects in the use of cryotherapy, ultrasound, magnetotherapy and therapeutic physical exercise in the rehabilitation of gonarthrosis patients.

[Article in Russian]

Grigoreva VD, Fedorova NE

Gonarthritis complicated by synovitis was treated by cryo-ultrasound or cryo-magnetotherapy in combination with therapeutic exercise. The comparison of the response has shown that both complexes are highly effective. In the absence of concomitant diseases and contraindications to ultrasound it is better to use cryo-ultrasound and exercise, otherwise cryo-magnetotherapy and exercise is preferential.

Ann Intern Med. 1994 Jul 15;121(2):133-40.

Published trials of nonmedicinal and noninvasive therapies for hip and knee osteoarthritis.

Puett DW, Griffin MR.

Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tennessee.

Abstract

PURPOSE: To review the efficacy of nonmedicinal, noninvasive therapies in hip and knee osteoarthritis.

DATA SOURCES: Search of English-language literature from 1966 through 1993 using MEDLINE by cross-referencing “osteoarthritis” (therapy subheadings) with “controlled trial,” “comparative study,” or “trial(s).”

STUDY SELECTION: Fifteen controlled trials of diathermy (deep heat), exercise, acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, topically applied capsaicin, low-energy laser, and pulsed electromagnetic fields were found. No experimental studies of superficial heat and cold, orthotic devices, vibration, or weight loss were identified.

RESULTS: Exercise reduces pain and improves function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. No support exists in the literature for pre-exercise ultrasound treatment. Single, well-designed studies suggest that topically applied capsaicin and laser treatment reduce pain associated with knee osteoarthritis. Data on the other three therapies were sparse (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, pulsed electromagnetic fields) or inconsistent (acupuncture).

CONCLUSIONS: More data are needed to determine the optimal exercise regimen for treating knee osteoarthritis and to evaluate the role of topical capsaicin, laser therapy, acupuncture, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, and pulsed electromagnetic fields. No data specifically address the role of any of these therapies in hip osteoarthritis.

J Bone Joint Surg Am. 1983 Apr;65(4):480-5.

The use of pulsing electromagnetic fields to achieve arthrodesis of the knee following failed total knee arthroplasty. A preliminary report.

Bigliani LU, Rosenwasser MP, Caulo N, Schink MM, Bassett CA.

Abstract

Treatment with pulsing electromagnetic fields was used as an adjunct in twenty patients who had had a knee arthrodesis after failure of a total joint arthroplasty. Eighteen had had an infected arthroplasty; one, mechanical loosening; and one, recurrent dislocation. Arthrodesis had been attempted twenty-five times in these twenty patients prior to application of the coils. These procedures included the use of twenty-two external fixation frames, one compression plate, one intramedullary rod, and one cylinder cast. Two groups of patients were identified: those with non-union and those with delayed union. Fourteen patients began treatment six months or more after arthrodesis and were considered to have a non-union. The other six patients started treatment less than six months after attempted arthrodesis because there was no evidence of progression toward union. They were considered to have delayed union. In seventeen (85 per cent) of the twenty patients a clinically solid arthrodesis with roentgenographic evidence of bone-bridging was achieved. The average time to union after coil therapy was started was 5.8 months, with a range of three to twelve months. The patients who started coil treatment earlier after arthrodesis showed a tendency to heal faster. The three patients who had failures were the only ones who did not adhere to the protocol, and all three were in the non-union group. All patients with a solid arthrodesis were free of pain and able to walk at the time of follow-up, nine to thirty-one months after the completion of treatment. The use of pulsing electromagnetic fields appears to be a valuable non-invasive adjunct when performing arthrodesis of the knee after failed total joint arthroplasty.