Disclosures: Valdes reports grants from Pfizer.
March 12, 2021
1 min read

Digital treatment of knee OA may improve pain, function vs self-managed care

Disclosures: Valdes reports grants from Pfizer.
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Digital treatment of knee osteoarthritis may improve pain and function compared with routine self-managed usual care, according to published results.

Ana M. Valdes, PhD, and colleagues randomly assigned 146 patients with knee OA to either receive structured exercise and OA disease information through a smartphone application provided by Joint Academy (intervention group; n=79) or to continue with the management recommended by their general practitioner (control group; n=67). Researchers compared the change from baseline to 6 weeks in self-reported pain during the last 7 days between the groups as the primary outcome. Researchers also collected two physical function scores, hamstring and quadriceps muscle strength, the WOMAC score and quantitative sensory testing as secondary outcomes.

Overall, researchers analyzed 105 patients, including 48 patients in the intervention group and 57 patients in the control group. Results showed a greater reduction in numerical rating scale pain score in the intervention group vs. the control group at 6-week follow-up. Researchers also found better improvements in the 30-second sit-to-stand test, the timed up-and-go test and WOMAC subscales for pain, stiffness and physical function in the intervention group. No adverse events were reported among the groups, according to results. Researchers noted medium to very strong effect sizes of within-group changes in pain and function outcomes in the intervention group.

Ana M. Valdes
Ana M. Valdes

“Delivering a well-developed exercise program via smartphone over 6 weeks, which involved daily activities to improve symptoms of knee arthritis, resulted in a very strong reduction in knee pain, but also increased ability to walk fast, to sit down and get up from a chair, and increased muscle strength,” Valdes told Healio Orthopedics. “It is possible to obtain substantial reductions in knee pain without a need for drugs by following carefully developed exercise programs, and this can be done from the comfort and safety of [the patient’s] own home. Hopefully, similar interventions can be developed to deliver postoperative rehabilitation.”