PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of massage applied to the thigh muscles on joint repositioning error (JRE) in patients suffering from osteoarthritis (OA).We hypothesized that stimulating massage of the muscles around an osteoarthritic knee joint, could improve the neuromuscular function and thereby optimize the positive and minimize the negative performance factors in relation to an exercise program.
METHODS: In a cross-over design, 19 patients with knee osteoarthritis, mean age of 73.1 years (SD: 9.4; range 56 to 88 years), recruited from the local department of rheumatology, were randomly allocated to either receive massage and a week later, act as controls or vice versa. The applied massage consisted of stimulating massage of the quadriceps femoris, sartorious, gracilus, and hamstrings muscles for 10 min on the affected leg. Participants had their JRE measured before and immediately after the 10 min massage and control sessions. Data were analyzed by using paired t-test.
RESULTS: No significant change in JRE was observed (95% CI: -0.62 degrees to 0.85 degrees, p = 0.738).
CONCLUSION: Massage has no effect on the immediate joint repositioning error in patients with knee osteoarthritis, ie, if an improved JRE is important for improving the performance factors when exercising, stimulating massage may not be recommendable to use.