The Clinical Outcomes of a Digital First-Line Treatment for Chronic Hip and Knee Pain

May 30, 2020

Reduced pain, changed mind about having surgery, and no more analgesics medication: These are some of the results of patients undergoing Joint Academy’s digital first-line treatment for chronic hip and knee pain. But what do these factors actually mean? And what value can this kind of results bring for your organization?

First-Line Treatment for Hip and Knee Pain

Treating chronic joint pain means reducing the negative impact on the affected joint. According to national and international guidelines, specific exercise (supervised by a physical therapist), information, and weight-control – all three as a unit – is the recommended first-line treatment for chronic hip and knee pain. Meaning something that every patient, whatever stage they are in, should participate in.

Specific Exercise – Before Other Treatments Are Considered

Specific exercise – that has no side effects, is less time-consuming than many other treatments, and which is often much cheaper than, for example, surgery – has a positive impact on the relationship between degradation and the construction of the cartilage’s building blocks in the affected joint. It will also stimulate the cartilage to repair itself. As the specific exercise gives effect, the muscles around the joint grow stronger. This, in turn, allows the affected joint to receive more strain without taking any damage.

However, in many situations, patients with hip and knee pain are treated with analgesics medication or undergo surgery as a first-hand treatment: cases where initial, physical therapy, thus, specific exercise could have improved the conditions considerably.

“One-third of all OA surgeries in the US are deemed inappropriate.”


No pills. No Surgery. Just healthier joints.

Joint Academy connects patients with licensed physical therapists to deliver an online (first-line) treatment for chronic joint pain. The treatment is created by physical therapists, doctors, and world-leading osteoarthritis experts. Joint Academy’s peer-reviewed studies and ongoing research show that Joint Academy’s patients reduce their pain, change their minds about having surgery, and quit analgesics medication.

85% Reduce Their Joint Pain

According to research, continuous participation in a digital OA treatment for 6 or 12 months, is associated with a clinically significant decrease in joint pain. And when it comes to physical function, which is highly connected to the level of pain, patients who use Joint Academy for 30 weeks notice an improvement of physical function of 88% on average.

54% Change Their Mind About Having Surgery

According to ongoing research, 54%* of patients using Joint Academy change their minds about having surgery (total joint replacement). Evidence-based, first-line treatment – delivered in a digital format – thus reduces the need for surgery. Therefore, it should advantageously be offered as the first-line treatment option to patients with chronic hip and knee pain. *preliminary figure

42% Quit Analgesics Medication

According to ongoing research – containing data from people with chronic hip and knee pain, taking part in lessons with Joins Academy – 42% state that they quit analgesics medication (meaning both mild painkillers and larger interventions such as cortisone injections). This, after undergoing first-line treatment digitally – with Joint Academy – for 6 months.

The Outcomes Trickled Down to Benefits for Healthcare Providers

All outcomes are, as mentioned, based on patients that have been undergoing first-line treatment via Joint Academy. But first-line treatment is not only beneficial for the patients – it comes with major advantages for health plans, health systems, and employers as well.

Digital first-line treatment holds the potential to reduce the number of total joint replacements needed: meaning money and lives saved. It also saves resources in healthcare, by ensuring that every patient gets the best available treatment – directly – without expensive detours. Furthermore, the number of sick-leaves and early retirements can be expected to decrease.

First-Line Treatment for Hip and Knee Pain – in a Digital Format

To make first-line treatment for hip and knee pain more accessible for the population – and to help health plans, health systems, and employers reduce their MSK spend – Joint Academy developed a digital clinic for chronic hip and knee pain, including:

  • Contact with a licensed physical therapist
  • A personalized exercise program to reduce pain
  • Tools to track the patient’s progress
  • Daily reminders that help the patient to reach their goals

Learn more about the treatment and its outcomes here