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Table 2 Number [%] of treatment modalities used in the management of patients with knee osteoarthritis according to quality of evidence from systematic reviews (SR)

From: Measuring physiotherapy performance in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: A prospective study

Type of intervention Not used at all Used in up to 80% of the sessions Used in more than 80% of the sessions Quality of evidence
Exercise 6 [2] 35 [12] 256 [86] High for pain reduction and improved physical function Moderate for no improvement in psychological outcomes
TENS (transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation) 260 [88] 16 [5] 21 [7] Moderate for pain reduction
Low level laser therapy 265 [89] 22 [7] 10 [4] Moderate for pain reduction
Acupuncture (manual, electrical and trigger point) 237 [80] 40 [14] 20 [7] Moderate for pain reduction
Short wave therapy (and pulsed electromagnetic energy) 268 [90] 16 [5] 13 [4] Moderate for no reduction in pain or improvement in physical function
Patient education, self-management and psychoeducation 53 [18] 214 [72] 29 [10] Moderate for improving psychological outcomes Moderate for no difference in pain or physical function
Ultrasound 249 [84] 21 [7] 27 [9] Low for all outcomes
Thermotherapy (heat packs) 251 [85] 20 [7] 26 [8] Low for all outcomes
Thermotherapy (cold packs) 278 [94] 12 [4] 7 [2] Low for all outcomes
Braces and orthosis 273 [92] 21 [7] 3 [1] Low for all outcomes
Tape 286 [96] 10 [3] 1 [0] No evidence from SR
Massage 137 [46] 69 [24] 91 [30] No evidence from SR
Traction 158 [53] 60 [20] 78 [26] No evidence from SR
Stretching 158 [53] 57 [19] 81 [27] No evidence from SR
Advice about physical activity 32 [11] 220 [74] 45 [15] No evidence from SR
Advice about weight reduction among 102 patients considered overweight 43 [42] 55 [54] 4 [4] No evidence from SR