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Video consultations by physiotherapists are effective for people with knee OA

Learn about University of Melbourne clinical trial involving video consultations for knee osteoarthritis by Dr. Rana Hinman and Dr. Kim Bennell

Our research at the University of Melbourne shows that video consultations are effective for knee OA, and acceptable to both physiotherapists and patients.

Our recent ‘IMPACT Trial’3 provides evidence from a randomised controlled trial.

Here is an overview of the IMPACT Trial and its findings:

Aim- To evaluate the effectiveness of internet-delivered, physiotherapist-prescribed home exercise and pain-coping skills training (PCST).

Design- Pragmatic parallel-group randomized, controlled trial.

Setting- Community in Australia.

Participants- 148 people aged 50 years or older with chronic knee pain.

Intervention- The intervention was delivered via the internet and included educational material, 7 videoconferencing (Skype) sessions with a physiotherapist for home exercise, and a PCST program over 3 months. The control was internet-based educational material.

Measurements- Primary outcomes were pain during walking (11-point numerical rating scale) and physical function (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC)) at 3 months. Outcomes were also measured at 9 months.

Results- The intervention group reported significantly more improvement in pain (mean difference, 1.6 units [95% CI, 0.9 to 2.3 units]) and physical function (mean difference, 9.3 units [CI, 5.9 to 12.7 units]) than the control group at 3 months, and improvements were sustained at 9 months (mean differences, 1.1 units [CI, 0.4 to 1.8 units] and 7.0 units [CI, 3.4 to 10.5 units], respectively).

Conclusion- For people with chronic knee pain, internet-delivered, physiotherapist-prescribed exercise and PCST provide clinically meaningful improvements in pain and function that are sustained for at least 6 months.

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Physiotherapy Exercise and Physical Activity for Knee Osteoarthritis (PEAK)

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