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Phone App Helps Cut Pain, Aid Functioning With Osteoarthritis

Findings seen in patients with knee or hip osteoarthritis participating for either 24 or 48 weeks

MONDAY, March 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) — A physical therapy app that offers a self-managed exercise and education program helps to improve pain and physical function for patients with osteoarthritis, according to a study published online March 4 in PLOS ONE.

Leif E. Dahlberg, M.D., Ph.D., from Lund University in Sweden, and colleagues used data from patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis participating in a digital self-management program (0 to 24 weeks: 499 patients; 0 to 48 weeks: 138 patients).

The researchers found that for the 24-week group, pain numeric rating scale scores (0 to 10) decreased monthly by −0.43 units (mean knee pain, 5.6 to 3.1; mean hip pain, 5.9 to 3.8) and 30-second chair stand test repetitions increased monthly by 0.76 repetitions (mean for knee, 10.0 to 14.3 repetitions; mean for hip, 10.9 to 14.8). For the group with 48-week adherence, pain decreased monthly by −0.39 units (mean knee pain, 5.7 to 3.2; mean hip pain, 5.8 to 3.8) and repetitions increased by 0.72 repetitions (mean repetitions for knee, 10.3 to 14.4; mean for hip, 11.1 to 14.9).

“We expected patients to see an improvement, but these results exceeded our expectations,” a coauthor said in a statement. “This demonstrates that using digital tools when treating chronic illnesses such as osteoarthritis can work very well.”

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