, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 187-191
Date: 06 Jun 2008

Effect of heat- and steam-generating sheet on daily activities of living in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee: randomized prospective study

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Abstract

Background

Thermotherapy is widely known to be effective for osteoarthritis of the knee (knee OA), but most treatment methods make use of dry heat. We developed a sheet that generates heat and steam simultaneously. In this prospective randomized study, we evaluated the effectiveness of this sheet.

Methods

Of 41 female patients with knee OA randomized to use the heat/steam-generating sheet or the dry heat-generating sheet, 37 patients (20 using the heat/steam-generating sheet and 17 using the dry heat-generating sheet) who used the sheets continuously for 4 weeks were studied. Outcome measures included the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) and Japan Orthopaedic Association (JOA) scores, which were applied at baseline and after 2 and 4 weeks of use.

Results

Significant improvement of the total WOMAC score was observed at 2 and 4 weeks (compared to baseline) in the heat/steam-generating sheet group, but no significant change was observed in the dry heat-generating sheet group. Among the JOA scores, the gait ability score was also improved significantly only in the heat/steam-generating sheet group. The effects were still seen 6 weeks after completion of treatment.

Conclusions

The present study provided evidence that the heat/steam-generating sheet that we developed is effective for alleviating pain and is especially superior in regard to improving stiffness and gait impairment in patients with knee OA. Furthermore, the effect persists for at least 6 weeks after application.