International guidelines recommend exercise therapy as the first choice treatment for knee osteoarthritis (KOA). Muscle strengthening and behavioural graded activity show comparable effects on KOA pain, but the mechanisms of action remain unclear. Understanding these mechanisms is necessary to tailor exercise therapy towards specific mediators and thereby optimize treatment effects. Based on own published data and literature, both exercise-induced anti-inflammation and endogenous analgesia are most promising pathways for pain reduction after exercise therapy.
This innovative project aims to examine (anti-)inflammation and endogenous analgesia as mediators for the effect of these two types of exercise therapy on pain in patients with KOA. Therefore, a3-arm randomized clinical trial is proposed: 12 weeks of muscle strengthening training, behavioural graded activity or control. Mediator analysis (specific statistical approach) will be performed.
Unravelling the mechanisms of action of exercise therapy in KOA will not only be extremely valuable for researchers, but also for exercise immunology and pain scientists. The result of this unconventional research will also find its way into clinical practice: thanks to the current project, tailoring exercise therapy programs towards specific mechanistic factors and thereby optimizing treatment effects will be at the horizon for patients suffering from KOA. In addition, the project has major potential in terms of socioeconomic impact.
Effective start/end date1/01/1931/12/22

    Flemish discipline codes

  • Gerontology and geriatrics not elsewhere classified

    Research areas

  • osteoarthritis

ID: 44389316