Comparative Effects of Cryostretching and Contract-Relax Technique on Knee Osteoarthritis

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Muhammad Abbas
Haram Usman
Rabiya Tahir
Syeda Sana Zahra
Muhammad Hanif
Shaheer Masood


Background: Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a condition characterized by the degeneration of cartilage in the knee joint, leading to pain, stiffness, and reduced range of motion. Cryostretching has been suggested as a beneficial intervention for knee OA, combining cold application to reduce muscle spasm with stretching to elongate muscles. Similarly, the contract-relax technique, which uses isotonic muscle contraction followed by stretching, has been shown to improve muscle elasticity and ROM.

Objective: To compare the effects of cryostretching and the contract-relax technique on pain, physical function, and ROM in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Methods: A quasi-experimental study was conducted on 30 knee OA patients from government hospitals in Faisalabad. Participants aged 40-60 years with grade 1 or 2 knee OA were recruited using purposive sampling. Subjects were randomly allocated to either the cryostretching group (Group A, n=15) or the contract-relax group (Group B, n=15). Interventions were administered twice a week for four weeks. Pain, physical function, and ROM were assessed using the Visual Analog Scale (VAS), Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC), and a goniometer, respectively. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 25, with paired and independent sample t-tests used to compare within-group and between-group differences, respectively.

Results: Significant improvements were observed in both groups. For Group A, the mean WOMAC score improved by 35.33 (95% CI: 28.78-41.88, p<0.001) at 4 weeks, while Group B showed an improvement of 24.13 (95% CI: 17.21-31.04, p<0.001). ROM in Group A increased by 8.20 (95% CI: 7.20-9.19, p<0.001) compared to 5.40 (95% CI: 4.61-6.18, p<0.001) in Group B. VAS scores decreased by 6.40 (95% CI: 5.65-7.14, p<0.001) in Group A and by 4.33 (95% CI: 3.76-4.90, p<0.001) in Group B. Between-group differences at 4 weeks were significant for all measures, favoring the cryostretching group.

Conclusion: Cryostretching was more effective than the contract-relax technique in reducing pain, improving physical function, and increasing ROM in patients with knee osteoarthritis. These findings support the integration of cryostretching into clinical practice for managing knee OA.

Keywords: Knee osteoarthritis, cryostretching, contract-relax technique, pain management, range of motion, physical function, rehabilitation therapy, cold therapy, muscle stretching, osteoarthritis treatment.

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How to Cite
Abbas, M., Usman, H., Tahir, R., Zahra, S. S., Muhammad Hanif, & Shaheer Masood. (2024). Comparative Effects of Cryostretching and Contract-Relax Technique on Knee Osteoarthritis. Journal of Health and Rehabilitation Research, 4(2), 1581–1585.


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