Table 2

Exercise therapy and outcome characteristics of included studies

Knee joint loading exercise characteristicsOutcomes characteristicsExercise quality
Study comparisonsTypeFrequency and durationExercise sessions attended/scheduled sessions (n and %)Non-serious adverse events in the intervention group†ROIOutcomesAnticipated impact on cartilageAdequate/inadequate
Armagan et al 34 2015Home exercise therapy vs oral glucosamine sulfateWB and non-WB (quadriceps and hamstring strengthening and dynamic stair-step exercises)24 weeksTFMLMorphology (semiquantitative scoring)Low to moderateUndeterminable*
Dincer et al 32 2016Supervised and home exercise,
TENS and hot pack vs TENS and hot pack
WB (closed kinetic chain exercises, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) and hot pack)5 T/W
30 min
12 weeks
n=2 (increase knee pain), n=1 (increase blood pressure)TFML and PMorphometry (thickness and volume)Low to moderateInadequate
Henriksen et al 35 2014Supervised and home exercise vs non-exposed groupWB (circuit training)3 T/W
60 min
16 weeks
TFMLMorphology (semiquantitative scoring)ModerateAdequate
Hunter et al 33 35 2015Supervised and home exercise and diet vs diet onlyWB (aerobic walking, strength training)3 T/W
60 min
72 weeks
n=1 (muscle strain), n=2 (trips/falls)TFMMorphometry (thickness and volume)Low to moderateAdequate
Landsmeer et al 36 2016Supervised exercise and diet vs oral placebo supplementationWB (Nordic walking, volleyball, bowling, salsa dancing, tai chi, softball, belly dance and modern dance)1 T/W
60 min
20 weeks
n=2 (side effects non-specified)TFML and PMorphology (semiquantitative scoring)LowInadequate
Multanen et al 37 2014Supervised exercise therapy vs non-exposed groupWB (aerobic, step aerobics and jumping exercise)3 T/W
55 min
48 weeks
TF anterior posterior centralComposition (GAG via dGEMRIC, collagen via T2 mapping)HighInadequate
Koli et al 40 2015Same as Multanen et al Same as Multanen et al Same as Multanen et al Same as Multanen et al Same as Multanen et al PatellarComposition (collagen via T2 mapping)Same as Multanen et al Same as Multanen et al
Munukka et al 38 2016Supervised exercise therapy vs non-exposed groupNon-WB (aquatic exercise therapy)3 T/W
60 min
16 weeks
n=2 (bilateral knee pain and dyspnoea)TF anterior posterior centralComposition (GAG via dGEMRIC, collagen via T2 mapping)LowInadequate
Ochiai et al 39 2014Home exercise vs local heat treatmentNon-WB (2 sets of straight leg raise, abductor training and adductor training (20 reps per set) in the morning and evening every day)14 T/W

12 weeks
n=1 (dizziness during exercise therapy)TFMLComposition (collagen via T2 mapping)LowInadequate
Roos and Dahlberg22 2005Supervised individually progressed exercise therapy vs non-exposed groupWB (weight-bearing neuromuscular exercises)1–5/week
60 min
16 weeks
F central/posteriorComposition (GAG via dGEMRIC)ModerateAdequate
  • *Too little information available.

  • †No serious adverse events were reported. Adequate/inadequate=the anticipated mechanical stimuli to the cartilage generated from the knee joint exercise intervention was considered of adequate (moderate) impact/of too high or too low impact to promote beneficial cartilage health.

  • GAG, glycosaminoglycans; L, lateral; M, medial; P, patella; ROI, region of interest; TF, tibiofemoral; WB, weight bearing; /W, per week.