Efficacy of tele-rehabilitation compared with office-based physical therapy in patients with knee osteoarthritis: A randomized clinical trial

J Telemed Telecare. 2018 Sep;24(8):560-565. doi: 10.1177/1357633X17723368. Epub 2017 Aug 3.


Introduction Knee osteoarthritis is a major cause of disability among the middle to senior age groups. Despite being effective, office-based physical therapy (OBPT) needs professional human resources and is both costly and time-consuming. We aimed to compare the efficacy of tele-rehabilitation (tele-rehab) compared with OBPT in patients with knee osteoarthritis. Methods In this randomized clinical trial, patients with symptomatic osteoarthritis of the knee were assigned to participate in either a 6-week home-based tele-rehab or an OBPT program between 2015 and 2016. Our primary outcome was the mean change from the baseline until 1 and 6 month's post-intervention in scores of the Knee injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS) and the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index (WOMAC). We used analysis of variance for the repeated measure statistical test. Results A total of 54 patients entered the final analysis, with 27 in each group. The mean age of the patients was 58.2 ± 7.41 years and 60.2% were female. In the tele-rehab and OBPT group, KOOS scores increased from baseline to 6 months post-intervention (50.6 to 83.1 and 49.8 to 81.8) respectively. There was no significant difference between tele-rehab and OBPT groups in any of the studied scales. Discussion The tele-rehab program is as effective as OBPT in improving the function of patients with knee osteoarthritis. Considering the much lower time and cost consumed by tele-rehab, it is the recommended program for the older population living in remote sites.

Keywords: Iran; Tele-rehabilitation; efficacy; knee; middle-aged; osteoarthritis; pain measurement.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iran
  • Knee Joint / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy*
  • Pain Measurement
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Telerehabilitation*
  • Treatment Outcome