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How effective is a blended web-based rehabilitation for improving pain, physical activity, and knee function of patients with knee osteoarthritis? Study protocol for a randomized control trial.


Due to the chronic nature of knee osteoarthritis (KOA) self-management is considered an essential part of therapy to improve physical function, activity, pain and quality of life (QoL). Web-based rehabilitation may be a potential innovative mode of patient' training to guide management compared to usual care, especially with the current restrictions pandemic imposed. Moreover, in order to alter KOA patients' behavior towards physical activity (PA), it may be more attractive and motivating to combine within their rehabilitation program, outdoor real life local activity that could feasible to be sustained in the future. Aim of the current study is to evaluate the effects of a blended web-based rehabilitation compared with structured PA alone in patients with KOA. This is a randomized multi-center study with two prospective arms. Fifty-six eligible participants with KOA will be recruited from the West Attica region (considered as structurally weak areas). After a comprehensive face-to face training session, participants will follow a 6-week web-based rehabilitation program, consisting of exercise, advice material enhanced outdoor structured PA. The control group will be encouraged to follow the outdoor structured PA alone. Baseline, 6-week and 12-week follow up assessments will be performed. The primary outcome is self-reported physical function as measured by the Knee Injury Osteoarthritis Outcome Score (KOOS). Secondary measures include pain, function (Timed Up and Go Test, Sit to Stand test), PA levels (Lower Extremity Activity Scale, Baecke Scale and pedometer), psychological perspective (Tampa Scale of Kinesiophobia) and health-related QoL (Short-Form 12). Baseline-adjusted Analysis of Variance will be used to test for group differences in the primary and secondary outcomes. The study will evaluate the blended web-based exercise and advice material, enhanced with outdoor PA in many respects compared to the outdoor PA alone so as to promote self-management care programs for KOA patients. Trial registration: Prospectively registered ISRCTN12950684 (27-09-2020).