With physiotherapy and app against osteoarthritis

A study at the Brandenburg University of Technology Cottbus-Senftenberg (BTU) is investigating the effectiveness of a smartphone-assisted therapy program for people with hip and/or knee osteoarthritis. Participants are currently being sought for this.

SmArt-E, thesmartphone-assisted arthrosis training with education (patient training), is open to people with knee arthrosis aged 38 and over and hip arthrosis aged 50 and over who are insured with the Techniker Krankenkasse health insurance fund. Interested parties are asked to contact the Institute of Health, Department of Therapeutic Sciences I, at the Senftenberg site of the BTU, tel. 0178 8798530, e-mail: smart-e(at)b-tu.de.

The study, led by the Hochschule für Gesundheit in Bochum, is being conducted at three study centers in Germany, which, in addition to the HS für Gesundheit, include the Sports Medicine Department of the University Hospital in Tübingen and the Department of Therapy Sciences I at the BTU Cottbus-Senftenberg. The aim of the study is to investigate the effectiveness of the digitally supported training and education program SmArt-E for people with hip and/or knee osteoarthritis over a period of twelve months in comparison to the current standard care.

Participants in the study will be randomly assigned to the SmArt-E group or to standard care. Standard care includes all medical and therapeutic measures that are part of regular health care or are prescribed by a physician. Participants who are assigned to the SmArt-E group receive smartphone-assisted osteoarthritis training with education (patient education). This is a twelve-month training and education program, which is instructed in the first six to twelve weeks in selected physiotherapy practices in the region and can increasingly be continued at home on one's own responsibility with the support of a smartphone app. Interaction with the treating therapists is also planned.
The therapy includes exercises to improve strength, mobility and coordination and also aims to anchor regular physical activities in everyday life. In addition, information is provided in training sessions to make training and living with osteoarthritis easier. As part of the study, there are three measurement appointments, which take place at the beginning, after three and after twelve months. In each case, strength and balance are tested and further information about the person and the current health situation is recorded in a questionnaire.

Osteoarthritis is by far the most common joint disease worldwide, with women being affected significantly more often than men. Almost 21 percent of people over 60 in Germany suffer from hip or knee osteoarthritis. Physical training and patient education are among the basic therapies in the treatment of hip and knee osteoarthritis and should be made available to all affected individuals. Particularly at the beginning of treatment, patients benefit from professional guidance by physiotherapists. This can also be usefully supported by new digital technologies.

Specialist contact

Carolin Bahns
Therapiewissenschaften I
T +49 (0) 3573 85-783

Press contact

Ralf-Peter Witzmann
Stabsstelle Kommunikation und Marketing
T +49 (0) 3573 85-283
The study will compare the effectiveness of a new smartphone-assisted therapy service for people with hip or knee osteoarthritis with standard care. Photo: BTU, Ralf Schuster