Knee osteoarthritis is currently one of the most common joint diseases worldwide. Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy has become popular among patients with knee osteoarthritis in recent years. However, the efficacy of this therapy on joint pain, joint stiffness and physical function is regarded as controversial in published clinical trials and systematic reviews. Several new randomized controlled studies on this subject have been published recently. The aim of this systematic review and metaanalysis is therefore to assess the efficacy of classical pulsed electromagnetic field therapy on patients with knee osteoarthritis, according to the methodology set out in the Cochrane Handbook for Systematic Reviews of Interventions. The results show that, despite showing no advantage in the management of pain and stiffness, pulsed electromagnetic field therapy is beneficial for improving clinical symptoms, such as physical function of the knee joint; thus it may be recommended as a supplementary therapy option for knee osteoarthritis. This review provides some evidence to help resolve current controversies about the efficacy of pulsed electromagnetic field therapy for knee osteoarthritis.
Li CHEN, MD, PhD, Xin DUAN, MD, PhD, Fei XING, MD, Guoming LIU, MD, Min GONG, MD, Lang LI, MD, Ran CHEN, MD and Zhou XIANG, MD, PhD From the Department of Orthopedics and National Clinical Research Center for Geriatrics, West China Hospital, Sichuan University, Chengdu, Sichuan, China. J Rehabil Med 2019; 51: 821–827