Telephone-delivered exercise in knee osteoarthritis

...does it improve pain or function?

Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a frequent condition affecting especially the elderly, leading to various disabilities and daily limitations such as pain, dysfunction and decreased quality of life. Not only does it represent a health issue but it is also an economic burden for health systems.

Conservative approaches are the most recommended treatments according to guidelines on knee OA. They include active physiotherapy, exercise, weight control, education, advice and information for self-management. Medicine, injections and manual therapies remain as adjuvant techniques.

However, in practice, the management of knee OA seems often associated with drug prescription rather than lifestyle management and physical activity. This could be due to the fact that general practitioners may not feel confident and skilled, while patients may not meet the guidelines minimum recommendations in terms of physical activity.

In any case, facilitating the access to physical activity experts such as physiotherapists is a key issue, especially with knee OA patients who often suffer from pain and mobility restrictions.

Telephone services may help facilitate access to physiotherapists. The aim of the present study was therefore to assess the effectiveness of a physiotherapist-led telephone-delivered exercise advice and support intervention for people with knee OA on pain and physical function and on various clinical criteria such as self- efficacy, kinesiophobia, quality of life and cost-effectiveness.

Although physical function was modestly improved, results were not sustained on a longer term and the overall results do not allow any conclusion in terms of clinical effectiveness.


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