Controlled trial: Taijiquan practice effects on knee proprioception wellness education in those with knee osteoarthritis

A Chinese research team held a randomized controlled trial to determine the effect of Taijiquan practice on knee proprioception in patients who suffered from knee osteoarthritis (OA.) Their findings determined that patients who practiced tai chi showed marked improvements over those who settled for the standard wellness education program. The study was published in the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

  • A randomized controlled trial compared Taijiquan with a control condition (wellness education). The objective was to determine which method showed greater improvement in knee proprioception in patients with knee OA.
  • The Taijiquan group practiced one-hour sessions thrice a week. The control group members attended a one-hour-long weekly educational session. The trial period lasted 24 weeks.
  • Researchers established the primary outcomes to be changes in knee proprioception. Secondary outcomes were shifts in the Western Ontario and McMaster University Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC) that analyzed the stiffness and physical function of joints (i.e. knee joints) affected by OA.
  • At the end of the 24-week trial period, the Taijiquan group enjoyed greater improvements in the knee joint position sense. OA patients who practiced Taijiquan reported superior flexion and extension of their knees compared with their control group counterparts.
  • In addition, the Taijiquan group achieved lower scores on the WOMAC index than the control group. Taijiquan practitioners reported experiencing decreased knee pain and stiffness, and they enjoyed superior physical function.

The full study can be read here.

According to the researchers, their findings prove Taijiquan is an effective physical therapy for knee osteoarthritis patients who want to protect their vulnerable knee joints against potential injury.

Journal Reference: 

Qingguang Z, Lingyan H, Jingxian L, Lijuan M, Yunya Z, Fang M, Liu Y, Xie W. EFFECT OF TAIJIQUAN PRACTICE VERSUS WELLNESS EDUCATION ON KNEE PROPRIOCEPTION IN PATIENTS WITH KNEE OSTEOARTHRITIS: A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL. Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine. 2017;37(6):774–781. DOI: 10.1016/S0254-6272(18)30040-2.

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