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Knee pain is a common complaint which affects people of all ages and can occur at any time in our lives whether we’re on the golf course or getting out of the bath.
In the majority of cases, with good advice and self-management, the pain will settle without the need to see a GP or health care professional and early action can help prevent more serious problems later.
Now sufferers have a wealth of advice at their fingertips to aid their recovery thanks to Joint Health Matters, a new website which gives people access to a wide range of information about knee problems caused by injury, osteoarthritis or other conditions.
The information provided is based on national and international guidelines for best practice on the management of musculoskeletal knee conditions and chronic pain.
Funded by the Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast, the website has been developed in collaboration with the NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group and the Joint Health Integrated Musculoskeletal Service at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust.
The website has been developed by musculoskeletal (MSK) physiotherapy specialists, consultants, GPs and pain specialists who all have a special interest in the management of musculoskeletal knee conditions and chronic pain.
Liverpool-based creative studio Citrus Suite Digital designed the website which features supporting content provided by Physitrack® and Arthritis Research UK.
GPs and healthcare professionals can refer patients with knee pain to the website for advice on how to manage their condition at home. However you don’t need a GP referral, anyone can access the website for expert advice and support at any time.
All you need to do is to visit www.jointhealthmatters.org and register your details to log in and discover the most likely cause of your knee pain and how to manage it.
Common causes of knee pain include ligament injuries from sports including football, skiing and netball. Knee pain can also be a result of overuse, being overweight, osteoarthritis or inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or gout.
The website features diagrams to illustrate how the knee joint works and video exercises to improve your pain, strength and mobility. It also advises users when to seek medical advice and gives them the option to set up and review goals to speed up their recovery.
Plus there are useful links to other informative websites, in particular, those which provide local supporting services in West Lancashire and Sefton.
Sarah Ralph, advanced practice physiotherapist at Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust, explained: “The website can be used by anyone with knee pain to help them self-manage their condition, without the need to see their GP as there is also clear advice on when it is necessary to seek medical attention.
“It is also ideal for patients who have been to their GP and are waiting for a referral to see a specialist. In the meantime, they can have a look at the website and try some of the advice and exercises at home to start improving their symptoms.
“In the future we are aiming to develop the website further by including more musculoskeletal conditions.”
Dr Peter Gregory, GP and clinical executive at NHS West Lancashire CCG, said: “The website looks slick and easy to use, very professional.”
Overall 91 per cent of patients and clinicians who tested the website said they would definitely recommend the site to family, friends and patients who had knee pain.
One hundred per cent of testers said the website looked professional and was easy to use and agreed that “the website will support me/my patients to self-manage knee pain.”
Funding the website is part of the Innovation Agency’s role in supporting innovation in musculoskeletal conditions in our region.
For more information on our work visit www.innovationagencynwc.nhs.uk