Original Investigation

Comparison of the Efficiency of Placebo and Ultrasound Therapy in Knee Osteoarthritis


  • Firuzan Altın
  • Nil Çağlar
  • Özer Burnaz
  • Şule Tütün
  • Levent Özgönenel

Received Date: 15.08.2012 Accepted Date: 27.08.2012 İstanbul Med J 2013;14(2):86-89


Osteoarthritis (OA) is a common joint disease that can result in morbidity. The objective of this study was to evaluate the efficiency of ultrasound (US) therapy in patients with OA, the effect of differing US therapies, and any enhanced effect of US therapy over placebo therapy.


This study was carried out on 60 patients (120 knees) with knee pain. All of them were diagnosed as primary OA patients, both clinically and radiographically, according to ACR criteria and as grade 2-3 in the Kellgren Lawrence System. Patients were assigned to two treatment groups randomly: US (Group 1; 30 patients) with 1 MHz frequency and 1 Watt/cm2 intensity; and placebo US (Group 2; 30 patients). All the treatments were applied once a day, 5 days a week, for 2 weeks. All of the patients were evaluated at the beginning of the study, then after 2 weeks and again after 4 weeks. The patients’ demographics were recorded before the study. Initially, and after the treatment, several factors were evaluated. They were knee size measurement, knee pain and OA severity with VAS score, ROM, manuel muscle strength, and 20 minutes of walking time. To determine any improvement in joint mobility, WOMAC, Lequesne, a questionnaire and the effectiveness of the therapy both for the patient and the doctor were evaluated.


Pain severity during walking and at rest, OA severity, ROM, 20 minutes of walking time, WOMAC, Lequesne, and the effectiveness of the therapy according to the patient and the doctor improved significantly in all groups after the treatment (p<0.05). According to the comparison between the groups, at both the 10 day and the 1 month control, US (Group 1) showed significant improvement over the placebo US (Group 2) (p<0.05). Our study is the first randomized, controlled, blind study that compared US and placebo US therapies.


US therapy is an effective treatment for patients with knee OA in terms of pain reduction and joint mobility. A difference between US and placebo groups can be observed if treatment is continued for long enough at the correct dosage.

Keywords: Gonartroz, ultrason, plasebo