Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT)


Physical Therapy

Advisor 1

Merrill Landers

First Committee Member

Jill Slaboda

Second Committee Member

Merrill Landers

Number of Pages



Objective: Develop a simple, self-paced lower extremity strengthening program incorporating functional activities for women over the age of fifty to reduce limitations associated with knee OA.

Study Design: This was a pilot study utilizing a time series design with 8 women aged 55-65 (M + SD = 60 + 3) meeting the American College of Rheumatology's criteria for clinical diagnosis of knee OA.

Background: Lower extremity weakness in women with knee osteoarthritis is associated with pain and functional limitations.

Methods and Measures: Subjects began the 14-week program with 2 weeks of baseline treadmill walking. The following 12 weeks were divided into 3 phases, 4 weeks each, consisting of a 10 minute walking warm-up, 18 minute stepping protocol and a 10 minute walking cool-down. Step height progressively increased by 2 inches each phase. Outcome measures included Limits of Stability and Sensory Organization Test taken at weeks 1 and 14 on the NeuroCom Smart Equitest®; the Western Ontario and McMaster’s University Arthritis Index (WOMAC) and quadriceps strength using a hand-held dynamometer recorded at each change of phase; and pain rating using a visual analogue scale which was scored every session.

Results: A repeated measures ANOVA demonstrated a significant difference between WOMAC means (F(4,28) = 6.218, p<.001). Additionally, a statistically significant difference was found among the means for bilateral quadriceps strength measurements (F(4,28) = 36.338, p<.0005). Pair-wise comparisons for bilateral quadriceps strength revealed a statistically significant difference among the means between all treatment times when compared to the post-treatment scores (ps<.003).

Conclusions: Subjects demonstrated an increase in quadriceps strength particularly in the final phase of the step program. WOMAC scores revealed significant changes between pre and week 10 treatment functional levels. The gains seen within this subject group in a limited time frame offer preliminary evidence that a strength-training program may benefit women over 50 with knee OA by improving lower extremity strength and function. These results warrant further investigation using more rigorous methodology.


Knee -- Exercise therapy; Knee osteoarthritis; Leg exercises; Muscle strength; Osteoarthritis — Patients — Rehabilitation; Quality of life; Women — Diseases — Treatment


Musculoskeletal Diseases | Physical Therapy | Rehabilitation and Therapy

File Format


File Size

737 Kb

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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