Physical Agent Modalities in Early Osteoarthritis: A Scoping Review

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Abstract: Early osteoarthritis (EOA) still represents a challenge for clinicians. Although there is noconsensus on its definition and diagnosis, a prompt therapeutic intervention in the early stages can havea significant impact on function and quality of life. Exercise remains a core treatment for EOA; however,several physical modalities are commonly used in this population. The purpose of this paper is toinvestigate the role of physical agents in the treatment of EOA. A technical expert panel (TEP) of 8 medicalspecialists with expertise in physical agent modalities and musculoskeletal conditions performed thereview following the PRISMA‐ScR (Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta‐Analyses Extension for Scoping Reviews) model. The TEP searched for evidence of the followingphysical modalities in the management of EOA: “Electric Stimulation Therapy”, “PulsedElectromagnetic field”, “Low‐Level Light Therapy”, “Laser Therapy”, “Magnetic Field Therapy”,“Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy”, “Hyperthermia, Induced”, “Cryotherapy”, “Vibration therapy”,“Whole Body Vibration”, “Physical Therapy Modalities”. We found preclinical and clinical data ontranscutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), extracorporeal shockwave therapy (ESWT), lowintensitypulsed ultrasound (LIPUS), pulsed electromagnetic fields stimulation (PEMF), and whole‐bodyvibration (WBV) for the treatment of knee EOA. We found two clinical studies about TENS and PEMFand six preclinical studies—three about ESWT, one about WBV, one about PEMF, and one about LIPUS.The preclinical studies demonstrated several biological effects on EOA of physical modalities, suggestingpotential disease‐modifying effects. However, this role should be better investigated in further clinicalstudies, considering the limited data on the use of these interventions for EOA patients.
Lingua originaleEnglish
Numero di pagine13
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2021

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