PURPOSE: This study examined the effects of videoconferencing-based telerehabilitation exercise program on the gait, knee function, and quality of life of patients with knee osteoarthritis. METHODS: Forty-eight subjects, who were diagnosed with osteoarthritis of the knee by the radiologic findings, history, and a physical examination, were assigned randomly to a Control group, Experiment group I, and Experiment group II. The control group did not perform any exercise program and were educated in understanding and managing the disease of knee osteoarthritis for only one hour. Experimental groups I and II were provided with an exercise guidelines book for knee osteoarthritis, and the same exercise programs were conducted by face-to-face visits and non-face-to-face using telerehabilitation for eight weeks, respectively. To verify the effectiveness of each exercise program, the gait speed, knee disability index, and health related quality of life were measured. All assessments were conducted twice before and after the intervention. RESULTS: The participants who underwent both face-to-face and telerehabilitation exercise programs showed an improved gait speed, knee function, and health-related quality of life. In particular, there was no significant difference between the telerehabilitation exercise group and the direct face-to-face exercise group in improving the knee joint function and health related quality of life. CONCLUSION: A these findings the telerehabilitation exercise program for patients with knee osteoarthritis can alternate or supplement the face-to-face exercise program. Therefore, the telerehabilitation exercise program should be used not only as a substitute supplement program but also as an intervention for various diseases.
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