Acupuncture/ pressureOsteoarthritis

Acupuncture in patients with knee osteoarthritis

Researchers from the National Taiwan University, in Taipei studied the immediate effects of acupuncture on gait in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

First, the details.

  • 20 patients with osteoarthritis affecting both knees were randomly assigned to a treatment group.
    • 30-minute electro-acupuncture treatment
    • Sham acupuncture

And, the results.

  • Visual analogue scale (VAS) scores were decreased significantly after acupuncture in both groups.
  • But the mean change of the VAS values of the electro-acupuncture group was 2 times greater than the sham group.
  • There were no significant changes in gait in the sham group, but electro-acupuncture was associated with a significant increase in the gait speed, step length, several components of joint angles and moments.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “Significantly improved gait performance in the experimental [electro-acupuncture] group may be associated with pain relief after treatment.”

These findings are supported by a Cochrane review, which reported that compared to “supervised osteoarthritis education” and a “physician consultation,” acupuncture was associated with clinically relevant short- and long-term improvements in pain and function.

However, the same Cochrane review also found…

  • The response to acupuncture was similar to “home exercises/advice leaflet” and “supervised exercise”
  • Acupuncture as an adjuvant to exercise-based physiotherapy did not result in any greater improvements than the exercise program alone.

2/9/10 22:48 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.