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Physiotherapy. 2009 Jun;95(2):94-102. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2009 Mar 21.

Long-term clinical benefits and costs of an integrated rehabilitation programme compared with outpatient physiotherapy for chronic knee pain.

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Physiotherapy Department, Sevenoaks Hospital, West Kent Primary Care Trust, Sevenoaks TN13 3PG, UK.



Chronic knee pain is a major cause of disability in the elderly. Management guidelines recommend exercise and self-management interventions as effective treatments. The authors previously described a rehabilitation programme integrating exercise and self-management [Enabling Self-management and Coping with Arthritic knee Pain through Exercise (ESCAPE-knee pain)] that produced short-term improvements in pain and physical function, but sustaining these improvements is difficult. Moreover, the programme is untried in clinical environments, where it would ultimately be delivered.


To establish the feasibility of ESCAPE-knee pain and compare its clinical effectiveness and costs with outpatient physiotherapy.


Pragmatic, randomised controlled trial.


Outpatient physiotherapy department and community centre.


Sixty-four people with chronic knee pain.


Outpatient physiotherapy compared with ESCAPE-knee pain.


The primary outcome was physical function assessed using the Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index. Secondary outcomes included pain, objective functional performance, anxiety, depression, exercise-related health beliefs and healthcare utilisation. All outcomes were assessed at baseline and 12 months after completing the interventions (primary endpoint). ANCOVA investigated between-group differences.


Both groups demonstrated similar improvements in clinical outcomes. Outpatient physiotherapy cost pound 130 per person and the healthcare utilisation costs of participants over 1 year were pound 583. The ESCAPE-knee pain programme cost pound 64 per person and the healthcare utilisation costs of participants over 1 year were pound 320.


ESCAPE-knee pain can be delivered as a community-based integrated rehabilitation programme for people with chronic knee pain. Both ESCAPE-knee pain and outpatient physiotherapy produced sustained physical and psychosocial benefits, but ESCAPE-knee pain cost less and was more cost-effective.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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