Background: Osteoarthritis (OA) is one of the most prevalent rheumatic diseases in the elderly and is associated with pain, stiffness, deformity and progressive loss of function.
Physical therapy through therapeutic exercise, proprioceptive exercises and phototherapy can improve symptoms related to OA.
Methods: The study included 16 patients clinically diagnosed with knee OA, unilateral or bilateral, according to the American College of Rheumatology criteria through x-ray image.
Patients were randomly divided into Group 1: undergo an exercise treatment program associated with application of placebo, and Group 2: the same exercise program associated with phototherapy. The
groups were treated for 12 weeks with a frequency of 3 times per week. All patients underwent pre- and post-treatment with SF-36 (Short Form 36), Womac questionnaire, Berg Scale, VAS (Visual Analog
Scale pain), ROM (range of motion) and strength assesment through hand dynamometer. For the application of phototherapy was used a cluster containing 7 red diodes (630nm) and 7 infrared diodes
(850nm), each diode power of 100mW, the energy of each diode was 4J, energy per area 56J, for a total 168J of energy per member. The irradiation time was 40 seconds per area, with a total time of 120
seconds per member. The application sites were in three areas of the belly of the quadriceps femoris muscles bilaterally.
Results: No significant differences were found for the quality of life ratings, functionality, balance, pain, flexibility and muscle strength in the analyzes between groups with (p>
0.05), however, there was significant improvement in both groups over time in the intra-group evaluation (p<0,05).
Conclusions: The treatment protocols showed no differences in functional performance evaluations, pain and muscle strength with each other. However, there is significant improvement
in both groups: submitted to the rehabilitation protocol, as the group associated with phototherapy on the quadriceps muscle.