Clinical Edge

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Self-Acupressure for Knee OA Superior to Usual Care

Arthritis Care Res; ePub 2017 Dec 29; Li, Harris, et al

Self-administered acupressure is superior to usual care in pain and physical function improvement for older adults with knee osteoarthritis (OA), according to a recent study. Participants were community-dwelling adults with symptomatic knee OA (n=150, mean age 73 years), randomized to 1 of 3 groups: verum acupressure, sham acupressure, or usual care. Participants in the verum and sham groups, but not those in the usual care group, were taught to self-apply acupressure once daily, 5 days/week for 8 weeks. Assessments were collected during center visits at baseline, and at 4 and 8 weeks. In addition, pain level was assessed weekly by phone using a numeric rating scale (NRS). Researchers found:

  • Compared with usual care, both verum and sham acupressure participants experienced significant improvements in Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) pain (mean difference −1.27 units and –1.24 units respectively), NRS pain (−0.74 units and −0.51 units, respectively), and WOMAC function (−4.83 units and −4.21 units, respectively) at 8 weeks.
  • There were no significant differences between the verum and sham acupressure groups on any of the outcomes.


Li LW, Harris RE, Tsodikov A, Struble L, Murphy SL. Self-acupressure for older adults with symptomatic knee osteoarthritis: A randomized controlled trial. [Published online ahead of print December 29, 2017]. Arthritis Care Res. doi:10.1002/acr.23262.

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