Telehealth stands to help thousands with chronic knee pain
Researchers at the University of Melbourne have developed an online treatment program, including Skype consultations, to improve symptoms and functioning for people suffering knee osteoarthritis. The IMPACT project is funded by the NHMRC.
Professor Kim Bennell, of the Department of Physiotherapy, said participants in the IMPACT project had seven Skype sessions with a physiotherapist to learn home exercises, and completed an online pain-coping skills training program over three months.
Compared to a control group, who only had access to online educational materials, they reported significantly greater improvements in pain, physical functioning and quality of life at three and nine months.
“Currently, many people with this condition are not receiving key treatments but are relying on drugs, which have serious side effects, and costly surgery,” Professor Bennell said.
“About 30,000 Australians have knee replacement surgery each year, so helping people to better self-manage can significantly reduce the need for surgery and drugs.”
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