Study finds promise in digital programs for treating knee pain

A randomized, controlled study published in JAMA Open found that patients who engaged in a virtual physical therapy program saw a greater reduction in knee pain than those who continued with their usual care plan at home. However, the study was not blinded, which could affect patients’ self-reported pain scores.

As investors pour funds into digital tools for musculoskeletal pain, new studies are putting them to the test. Results of one such study, published Tuesday in JAMA Network Open, found that digital physical therapy could be a more effective means of reducing knee pain for patients than standard self-management.

A total of 105 people with knee osteoarthritis participated in the randomized, controlled trial, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Nottingham. A little less than half of the group was given an app developed by Swedish digital health startup Joint Academy, while the remaining 57 were given a self-management plan by their general practitioner.

Patients who received digital treatment reported their pain decreased by 41%, while patients who received traditional care only saw a 6% decrease. But it’s important to note that the study wasn’t blinded, which could have affected users’ self-reported pain scores, which were based on a scale of 0 to 10.

Those who used the Joint Academy program were given an individualized exercise plan and matched with a physical therapist that they could meet with through video calls or text messages. They also recorded what activities they had completed in the app.

By Elise Reuter | MedCity News

Image Credit: Srisakorn, Getty Images


About Peter Coffaro 487 Articles
A growth-driven and strategic executive, Peter Coffaro commands more than 25 years of progressive management success within the medical device industry. Recognized by the World Journal of Orthopedics, Exponential Healthtech, and as one of the top medical sales influencers in the industry; he has 10 years of combined sales management experience and has held positions as a Director, General Manager, Distributor, and Vice President. Peter has worked for some of the top orthopedic companies in the world - Zimmer, DePuy, and Stryker. He is also the founder of OrthoFeed: a popular blog that covers digital orthopedic news and emerging medical technologies. Peter is a three-time Hall of Fame award winner at Johnson and Johnson and has an extensive background in organizational development, business development, sales management, digital marketing, and professional education. Peter holds a B.S. degree in Biology and Chemistry from Northern Illinois University.

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