Deconditioned Knee: The Effectiveness of a Rehabilitation Program that Restores Normal Knee Motion to Improve Symptoms and Function

This article, Originally Published by the National Library of Medicine in 2007, states that re-establishing range of motion helps with knee pain.



Knee pain can cause a deconditioned knee. Deconditioned is defined as causing one to lose physical fitness. Therefore, a deconditioned knee is defined as a painful syndrome caused by anatomical or functional abnormalities that result in a knee flexion contracture (functional loss of knee extension), decreased strength, and decreased function. To date, no published studies exist examining treatment for a deconditioned knee.


To determine the effectiveness of a rehabilitation program focused on increasing range of motion for patients with a deconditioned knee.


Fifty patients (mean age 53.2 years) enrolled in the study. Objective evaluation included radiographs, knee range of motion, and isokinetic strength testing. The International Knee Documentation Committee (IKDC) subjective questionnaire was used to measure symptoms and function. Patients were given a rehabilitation program to increase knee extension (including hyperextension) and flexion equal to the normal knee, after which patients were instructed in leg strengthening exercises.


Knee extension significantly improved from a mean deficit of 10° to 3° and knee flexion significantly improved from a mean deficit of 19° to 9°. The IKDC survey scores significantly improved from a mean of 34.5 points to 70.5 points 1 year after beginning treatment. The IKDC subjective pain frequency and severity scores were significantly improved.


A rehabilitation program that improves knee range of motion can relieve pain and improve function for patients with a deconditioned knee.

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