The impact of digital healthcare systems on pain and body function in patients with knee joint pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Sci Rep. 2024 Feb 9;14(1):3310. doi: 10.1038/s41598-024-53853-z.


The digital healthcare (DH) system has recently emerged as an advanced rehabilitation approach that promotes rehabilitation training based on virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR). The purpose of this meta-analysis study is to review and assess the impact of DH systems on pain and physical function among patients diagnosed with knee joint pain. Between January 2003 and September 2023, studies that met the listed inclusion criteria were gathered from Scopus, PubMed, Web of Science, and EBSCO databases. The analysis of standardized mean difference (SMD) was carried out with 95% confidence interval (95% CI) (PROSPERO registration number: CRD42023462538). Eight research papers were selected, which collectively involved 194 males and 279 females. The meta-analysis outcomes revealed that DH intervention significantly improved balance (SMD, 0.41 [0.12, 0.69], p < 0.05) and pain level (SMD, - 1.10 [- 2.02, - 0.18], p < 0.05). The subgroup analysis of the pain level showed varied outcomes for the TKA (SMD, - 0.22 [- 0.49, 0.04], p = 0.10) or OA patients (SMD, - 2.80 [- 3.83, - 1.78], p < 0.05) Next, this study found no significant effect of DH intervention on knee joint range of motion (ROM) (SMD, 0.00 [- 0.76, 0.76], p = 1.00) and walking velocity (SMD, 0.04 [- 0.22, 0.29], p = 0.77) in patients with knee joint pain. The meta-analysis review conducted in this study revealed that DH intervention may potentially improve balance among the patients with knee joint pain. It may also alleviate the pain level particularly among OA patients.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthralgia
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint*
  • Male
  • Pain*
  • Walking