Gamification in Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation

Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2022 Dec;15(6):629-636. doi: 10.1007/s12178-022-09797-w. Epub 2022 Oct 27.


Purpose of review: This study is a narrative review aiming at evaluating the current literature of the last 5 years on gamification and musculoskeletal rehabilitation. The article search involved the following MeSH terms at PubMed: "gamification," "exergaming," and "rehabilitation." Original studies in English language were included.

Recent findings: After careful analysis of the search results, 17 articles were included in this review. The use of games for rehabilitation was investigated in musculoskeletal rehabilitation conditions such as shoulder surgery, impingement syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, low back pain, fibromyalgia, fracture, and ligament reconstruction. Results were similar or superior to conventional physical therapy or home-based exercises, with the additional benefit of improving motivation to the exercise program. Improvements in quality of life and perceived health status were also observed. The cost-effectiveness of this type of technology was also mentioned as an advantage of exergames in musculoskeletal rehabilitation. Studies involving gamification in musculoskeletal rehabilitation stress the potential of this resource in several aspects of physical fitness, health, and quality of life, also improving motivation and adherence to the exercise treatment.

Keywords: Musculoskeletal diseases; Rehabilitation; Video games.

Publication types

  • Review