The Potential of Digital Technology to Improve Self-Care for Musculoskeletal Conditions

  • Courtenay Stewart
  • Ryan Fraiser
  • Patricia ZhengEmail author
Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation (J Friedly, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation


Purpose of Review

Digital technology offers a broad range of tools that can be used to enhance health care. We aim to summarize for the physiatrist use-cases of these tools in musculoskeletal self-care.

Recent Finding

Recent advances in and increasing prevalence of wearable sensors and mobile phones make these digital technologies ideal tools to help patients become active participants in their own healthcare. However, given digital health technologies’ fast-paced growth and turnover, implementation and research challenges remain.


Digital technology provides novel methods to objectively evaluate patients and to engage them in active rehabilitation. Further research is needed to guide the adaptation of these emerging tools to enhance self-care of musculoskeletal conditions. Physiatrists, who have extensive experience in non-surgical management of mobility-limiting conditions, are particularly equipped to lead the efforts in the design and validation of these technologies.


Digital technology Mobile health Musculoskeletal conditions Non-operative care 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Courtenay Stewart
    • 1
  • Ryan Fraiser
    • 1
  • Patricia Zheng
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryStanford UniversityRedwood CityUSA
  2. 2.Department of Orthopaedic SurgeryUniversity of California, San Francisco (UCSF)San FranciscoUSA

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