Background: The number of falls experienced by people with knee osteoarthritis (OA) is almost double the number experienced by people with no OA. The neuromuscular elements required to arrest a fall are more impaired in people with knee OA compared to their asymptomatic counterparts. Therefore, these elements may need to be incorporated into an exercise intervention to reduce the risk of falling. The aim of this study will be to examine the feasibility, safety and patient satisfaction of a high-speed resistance-training program, with and without balance exercises, in people with knee OA compared to a control group. The effect of these exercise programs on lower-limb muscle strength and physiological and functional risk factors for falls will also be examined. Methods: This study will be a pilot randomized controlled trial with a pre- and post-intervention design (outcome assessments at baseline and 8 weeks after participation commencement) comparing three groups: a control group (no intervention), a high-speed resistance-training group and a high-speed resistance-training plus balance exercises group. Thirty people with knee osteoarthritis aged 60-90 years will be recruited and randomized to one of the three groups. Feasibility and safety will be assessed by examining adherence to the exercise program, dropout rate, pain level during and following exercise, number of exercises stopped due to pain, and any adverse event or any incident that prevents the participant from completing the prescribed exercise. Secondary measures of lower-limb strength, physical function, self-reported pain and function, fear of falls, and executive function and quality of life will also be assessed. To determine statistical trends of effectiveness and hence to inform sample size for a fully powered study, analyses of the secondary outcomes will be performed to assess the changes within and between groups over time (pre-post) using repeated measure ANOVA. Discussion: The results of this study will improve understanding of what type of exercise is safe and beneficial for people with knee OA to reduce their risk of falling, and hence will inform the development of a future large research trial. Trial registration: Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry, ID: ACTRN12616001382460. Registered on 6 October 2016.
- Resistance training