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Treatment using 448kHz capacitive resistive monopolar radiofrequency improves pain and function in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee joint: a randomised controlled trial [with consumer summary]
Kumaran B, Watson T
Physiotherapy 2019 Mar;105(1):98-107
clinical trial
7/10 [Eligibility criteria: Yes; Random allocation: Yes; Concealed allocation: Yes; Baseline comparability: Yes; Blind subjects: No; Blind therapists: No; Blind assessors: No; Adequate follow-up: Yes; Intention-to-treat analysis: Yes; Between-group comparisons: Yes; Point estimates and variability: Yes. Note: Eligibility criteria item does not contribute to total score] *This score has been confirmed*

OBJECTIVE: This study investigated whether capacitive resistive monopolar radiofrequency (CRMRF)-based treatment improves pain and function among patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. DESIGN AND SETTING: Three-group randomised controlled trial with concealed allocation, participant blinding and intention-to-treat analysis. Forty-five patients diagnosed with osteoarthritis, from the waiting list for physiotherapy at a local hospital were enrolled. INTERVENTION: Participants in the active and sham groups received eight sessions of CRMRF and sham-CRMRF respectively over four weeks, along with standard care. The control group received standard care only. ASSESSMENT: Pain and function were measured at four time points: week zero (baseline), week four (post intervention), week eight and week 16 (two follow-ups) using visual analogue scale (VAS), Western Ontario and McMaster Universities (WOMAC) Osteoarthritis Index, timed up and go (TUG) test and knee range of motion (ROM). RESULTS: For pain (VAS), there were clinically significant changes in the active group at post treatment compared to sham (mean difference 0.79 (95% CI 0.29 to 1.3), effect size 1.3) and control (mean difference 0.82 (95% CI 0.32 to 1.3), effect size 1.5), and at one-month follow-up compared to control (mean difference 0.68 (95% CI 0.10 to 1.3), effect size 1.1). For function (WOMAC), there was clinically significant change in the active group at post treatment compared to control (mean difference 1.3 (95% CI 0.02 to 2.6), effect size 0.94), but not compared to sham. No meaningful differences were noted for TUG or knee ROM. No differences were noted at three-month follow-up for any outcomes. CONCLUSION: CRMRF treatment can improve pain and function in patients with knee osteoarthritis in the short term. TRIAL REGISTRATION: NIHR-CRN study ID 20264.

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