Although the effectiveness of using text messages in home-based rehabilitation programs has been investigated, its ability to engage patients in home rehabilitation exercises and, as a result, improve hand outcomes, specifically in patients with flexor tendon injuries, has not been evaluated. The aim of this study was to determine whether the addition of a text message–based intervention to usual care is effective in improving hand outcomes in patients with flexor tendon injuries after repair.
In this 2-arm parallel randomized controlled trial, 40 patients were randomly assigned to either the intervention group (usual care plus the support program) or the control group (usual care only). Intervention included an automated package of instructional text messages containing links to a secure website for instructional rehabilitation videos delivered over 12 weeks. The Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand and visual analog scale for pain scores were assessed at 6 and 12 weeks. Physician-reported grip strength and total active motion were assessed after 12 weeks.
The study was completed by 90% (36 of 40) of the patients who were enrolled. There were statistically significant differences between the 2 groups with respect to Quick Disabilities of the Arm, Shoulder, and Hand and visual analog scale scores at the 6-week and 12-week assessments. In addition, there were statistically significant differences between the 2 groups with respect to total active motion and grip strength at 12 weeks. Finally, a high level of satisfaction with the intervention was reported.
The text message–based program was associated with improved outcomes over the first 12 weeks after flexor tendon repair.
Type of study/level of evidence
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Published online: September 03, 2022
Accepted: July 15, 2022
Received: October 30, 2021
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