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Keywords:

  • Randomized controlled trial;
  • Exercise;
  • Knee osteoarthritis;
  • Social support;
  • Cost effectiveness

Abstract

Objective

To assess the cost effectiveness of a 2-year home exercise program for the treatment of knee pain.

Methods

A total of 759 adults aged ≥45 years were randomized to receive exercise therapy, monthly telephone contact, exercise therapy and telephone contact, or no intervention. Efficacy was measured using self-reported knee pain at 2 years. Costs to both the National Health Service and to the patient were included.

Results

Exercise therapy was associated with higher costs and better effectiveness. Direct costs for the interventions were £112 for the exercise program and £61 for the monthly telephone support. Participants allocated to receive exercise therapy were significantly more likely to incur higher medical costs than those in the no-exercise groups (mean difference £225; 95% confidence interval £218, £232; P < 0.001).

Conclusion

Exercise therapy is associated with improvements in knee pain, but the cost of delivering the exercise program is unlikely to be offset by any reduction in medical resource use.