A Novel Mobile App-based Neuromuscular Electrical Stimulation Therapy For Improvement Of Knee Pain, Stiffness, And Function In Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Trial

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Arthroplasty Today


Background: Knee osteoarthritis (OA) is a widespread and debilitating disease that continues to plague patients. Over the past decade, neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) therapy has shown promise in alleviating knee OA-related symptoms. This study sought to evaluate the efficacy and safety of a home-based NMES therapy for reduction of pain, stiffness, and function associated with knee OA. Material and methods: A randomized, sham-controlled, double-blind, multicenter trial was conducted with 12-week follow-up in 156 knee OA patients receiving either home-based NMES therapy or a modified low-voltage NMES therapy. Outcome measures including knee pain, stiffness, and functionality were collected at baseline through week 12 after the therapy. The primary endpoint was the percentage change from baseline (PCFB) in the Visual Analog Scale (VAS) pain for a patient-nominated physical activity. Secondary endpoints included VAS for general knee pain, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score Joint Replacement, and isometric quadriceps strength test. Results: A clinically meaningful reduction for VAS Nominated Activity was higher in the per-protocol treatment-compliant NMES group than that in the sham low-voltage NMES group at week 12 (PCFB of 42.8% vs 38.6%, P = .562). This was similarly true for the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index pain subscale (PCFBs of 36.8% vs 26.6%, P = .038). Similar trends and reductions of pain were observed for VAS General, Knee Injury and Osteoarthritis Outcome Score Joint Replacement Pain subscale, and isometric quadriceps strength. Conclusion: Home-based NMES treatment resulted in a clinically meaningful reduction of knee pain, stiffness, and knee functional improvements at week 12 compared with sham NMES treatment.

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