Comparison of weight bearing functional exercise and non-weight bearing quadriceps strengthening exercise on pain and function for people with knee osteoarthritis and obesity: Protocol for the TARGET randomised controlled trial

Kim L. Bennell, Rachel K. Nelligan, Alexander J. Kimp, Tim V. Wrigley, Ben Metcalf, Jessica Kasza, Paul W. Hodges, Rana S. Hinman

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16 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Clinical guidelines recommend exercise as a core treatment for individuals with knee osteoarthritis (OA). However, the best type of exercise for clinical benefits is not clear, particularly in different OA subgroups. Obesity is a common co-morbidity in people with knee OA. There is some evidence suggesting that non-weight bearing exercise may be more effective than weight bearing exercise in patients with medial knee OA and obesity. Methods: To compare the efficacy of two different exercise programs (weight bearing functional exercise and non-weight bearing quadriceps strengthening) on pain and physical function for people ≥50 years with painful medial knee OA and obesity (body mass index ≥30 kg/m2) 128 people in Melbourne, Australia will be recruited for a two group parallel-design, assessor- and participant-blinded randomised controlled trial. Participants will be randomly allocated to undertake a program of either weight bearing functional exercise or non-weight bearing quadriceps strengthening exercise. Both groups will attend five individual sessions with a physiotherapist who will teach, monitor and progress the exercise program. Participants will be asked to perform the exercises at home four times per week for 12 weeks. Outcomes will be measured at baseline and 12 weeks. Primary outcomes are self-reported knee pain and physical function. Secondary outcomes include other measures of knee pain, physical function, quality-of-life, participant-perceived global change, physical performance, and lower limb muscle strength. Discussion: This study will compare the efficacy of two different 12-week physiotherapist-prescribed, home-based exercise programs for people with medial knee OA and obesity. Findings will provide valuable information to help inform exercise prescription in this common OA patient subgroup.

Original languageEnglish
Article number291
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Musculoskeletal Disorders
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jun 2019


  • Clinical trial
  • Exercise
  • Knee
  • Obesity
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Physiotherapy
  • RCT

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