Regular exercise and physical therapy may benefit people with hip and knee arthritis, new research suggests.

The study included 206 people with hip and knee osteoarthritis, average age 66, who were divided into two groups. One group received usual care, while the other group had regular exercise, physical therapy or both added to their standard care.

After two years, those who did exercise and/or physical therapy had greater improvements in pain, stiffness and physical function than those who received usual medical care alone, the investigators found.

The study findings are scheduled for presentation Saturday at the American College of Rheumatology's annual meeting in Boston. Research presented at meetings should be considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The results show that adding exercise and/or physical therapy to usual medical care benefits people with knee and hip arthritis, concluded lead author J. Haxby Abbott, of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand.

Osteoarthritis -- the most common type of joint disease among middle-aged and elderly people -- causes progressive damage to cartilage in the joints. It can cause pain, swelling and reduced joint movement.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more about osteoarthritis.

Study showed greater improvements in pain, stiffness and function when...

Study showed greater improvements in pain, stiffness and function when added to routine care Credit: HealthDay

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