Yoga for Knee Arthritis: Some Improvement in Function but No Pain Reduction What are the main findings?

Response: After completing the 12-week yoga program, participants reported greater improvements in physical function, but not knee pain, compared with the control group who only received online education. While these improvements weren’t large on average, 60% of the yoga participants reported improved function of a level that is considered clinically important, compared to 44% of the control group. Improvements in knee stiffness and quality of life were also seen at 12 weeks in the yoga group.

Participants completed around two-thirds of the recommended number of yoga sessions during the 12 weeks, but this declined once the program became optional. Improvements in function, knee stiffness and quality of life were not found to be maintained at 24 weeks. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: This free-to-access home-based yoga program could be a scalable option to improve patient access to exercise, which is a core recommended osteoarthritis treatment. People with osteoarthritis can use the program to remove common barriers to exercise such as cost and travel, and likely see an improvement in their day-to-day function. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further research is needed to fully establish the effects of unsupervised online yoga and enhance treatment benefits. Research which examines the mechanisms underpinning observed improvements in physical function with yoga is needed, as well as investigating methods to enhance longer-term engagement with an online yoga program. There are also many different types of yoga, and studies investigating different types, intensity levels, and formats of online yoga will be useful.

The yoga program evaluated in this study is freely available at


Kim L. Bennell, Sarah Schwartz, Pek Ling Teo, et al; Effectiveness of an Unsupervised Online Yoga Program on Pain and Function in People With Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Ann Intern Med. [Epub 20 September 2022]. doi:10.7326/M22-1761

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Last Updated on November 4, 2022 by