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Digital health technologies in musculoskeletal care

Call for Papers

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Enhanced accessibility to technological innovations offers real opportunity to improve musculoskeletal care, including research, patient adherence and outcomes. Barriers like the coronavirus pandemic are even acting as catalysts in the migration to a virtual medical setting. This article collection will highlight articles investigating how these digital tools are entering clinical practice to provide solutions for patients and healthcare providers. 

We welcome Research Articles, Case Reports, and Study Protocols on all investigations into this field, such as artificial intelligence, virtual consulting, telecare, remote assessment using digital tools, Social media, data science and mining, eHealth, mobile apps, and wearables.

Please ensure your manuscript adheres to the submission guidelines for BMC-Series journals. Especially for manuscripts describing randomized trials, qualitative research, and systematic review methods, the Equator Network reporting guidelines should be followed. To submit your manuscript, please use our online submission system, Editorial Manager. Please make sure you submit in Editorial Manager and not our new editorial submission system. 

Proposals for Commentaries, Correspondences, and Narrative Reviews will be considered but editorial pre-approval is required. If you would like to inquire about the suitability of a study for consideration or would like to propose a non-research topic, please email a pre-submission enquiry to ciaran.fitzpatrick@springernature.com.

To submit your manuscript, please use our online submission system at BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders. Please indicate in your cover letter that you would like the article to be considered for the ‘Digital health technologies in musculoskeletal care’ special issue. Deadline is 31 March 2022, and articles will be published shortly after acceptance.

Submissions focussing on a rheumatic condition, and not the joint/musculoskeletal aspect, will be considered but may be transferred to BMC Rheumatology pre-acceptance.

Short reports, initial observations and data sets relevant to the collection will be considered in BMC Research Notes. This type of content will be published in BMC Research Notes and included in the final collection.

Meet the Collection Editors

Aurélie Najm
Aurelie Najm, MD, PhDAurélie Najm is a Rheumatologist, MD, PhD, currently working in the Institute of Infection, Immunity and Inflammation, College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow, United Kingdom. Her main interests are digital health in Rheumatology and translational immunology with a focus on synovial tissue and epigenetics. She is the co-chair of the EULAR Synovitis Study Group.



Diederik De Cock
Diederik De Cock, PhDDr Diederik De Cock, KU Leuven, Belgium, is an epidemiologist working in the field of rheumatology with a keen interest in patient reported outcomes, mobile health and optimal therapy for patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.





Latika Gupta
Latika Gupta, MD, PhDDr Gupta is a clinician scientist working as Assistant Professor at SGPGI, a tertiary care teaching hospital in Lucknow, India. She is a dedicated myositis researcher (>100 publications) and recently founded Myositis India, a patient support group for patients with this disease. She currently serves as the scientific committee member for the IMACS (International Myositis Assessment and Clinical Studies Group) and Social Media Editor at a number of Rheumatology journals. Dr Gupta is a member of the APLAR Young Rheumatologist social media core committee, and was bestowed a Publons top peer reviewer award in 2020.

Koroush Kabir

Dr. Kabir is lead consultant surgeon and Associate Professor in Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery at the Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma Surgery in University Hospital Bonn, Germany. He has a wide scope of surgical education with a clinical focus in spine and pelvic surgery, geriatric traumatology with special interest in periprosthetic fractures and polytrauma. His main clinical research interest is minimal invasive and computer navigated surgery of spine and pelvis. In his opinion, the new technology with different digital tools can help physician to achieve patient specific outcome-improvement in the field of orthopaedics and trauma surgery.

  1. Smartphones provide opportunities for musculoskeletal research: they are integrated in participants’ daily lives and can be used to collect patient-reported outcomes as well as sensor data from large groups of...

    Authors: Anna L. Beukenhorst, Katie L. Druce and Diederik De Cock
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2022 23:487
  2. The purpose of the present study was to explore the feasibility of collecting GPS data and the usability of GPS data to evaluate associations between the training load and onset of running-related knee injurie...

    Authors: Kyra L. A. Cloosterman, Tryntsje Fokkema, Robert-Jan de Vos, Ben van Oeveren, Sita M. A. Bierma-Zeinstra and Marienke van Middelkoop
    Citation: BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation 2022 14:78
  3. Guidance for choosing face-to-face vs remote consultations (RCs) encourages clinicians to consider patient preferences, however, little is known about acceptability of, and preferences for RCs, particularly am...

    Authors: Zoe Paskins, Laurna Bullock, Fay Manning, Simon Bishop, Paul Campbell, Elizabeth Cottrell, G. P. Partner, Clare Jinks, Melanie Narayanasamy, Ian C. Scott, Opinder Sahota and Sarah Ryan
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2022 23:312
  4. Musculoskeletal disorders can contribute to injurious falls and incur significant societal and healthcare burdens. Identification of fallers from non-fallers through wearable-based gait analysis can facilitate...

    Authors: Ralph Jasper Mobbs, Pragadesh Natarajan, R. Dineth Fonseka, Callum Betteridge, Daniel Ho, Redmond Mobbs, Luke Sy and Monish Maharaj
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2022 23:304
  5. Osteoarthritis is a common and disabling condition that places heavy burden to individuals and healthcare systems. Patient education is a facilitator in the treatment decision making process, aiming to develop...

    Authors: Kangping Song, Siyi Zhu, Xiaona Xiang, Lin Wang, Suhang Xie, Huizhen Liu, Wenjie Yang and Chengqi He
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2022 23:274
  6. The evidence base for the impact of digital health on musculoskeletal (MSK) outcomes is growing, but it is unclear how much digital MSK programs address pain and function in the intermediate and long term.

    Authors: Grace Wang, Manshu Yang, Mindy Hong, Jeffrey Krauss and Jeannie F. Bailey
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2022 23:237
  7. Hip osteoarthritis (OA) is a leading cause of musculoskeletal pain. Exercise is a core recommended treatment. Despite some clinical guidelines also recommending weight loss for hip OA, there is no evidence fro...

    Authors: Michelle Hall, Rana S. Hinman, Gabrielle Knox, Libby Spiers, Priya Sumithran, Nicholas J. Murphy, Fiona McManus, Karen E. Lamb, Flavia Cicuittini, David J. Hunter, Stephen P. Messier and Kim L. Bennell
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2022 23:215
  8. In the context of the German contact restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic of March 2020, an online-based consultation system was established in our university orthopedic outpatient department to maintain ...

    Authors: Pierre Hepp, Georg Osterhoff, Peter Melcher, Ralf Henkelmann and Jan Theopold
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2022 23:196
  9. Physical activity (PA) may improve work ability and health in individuals with hip and/or knee osteoarthritis (OA). The use of wearable activity trackers (WATs) has been shown to increase PA and improve other ...

    Authors: Elin Östlind, Frida Eek, Kjerstin Stigmar, Anita Sant’Anna and Eva Ekvall Hansson
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2022 23:112
  10. Acute musculoskeletal (MSK) pain is very common and associated with impaired productivity and high economic burden. Access to timely and personalized, evidence-based care is key to improve outcomes while reduc...

    Authors: Fabíola Costa, Dora Janela, Maria Molinos, Jorge Lains, Gerard E. Francisco, Virgílio Bento and Fernando Dias Correia
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2022 23:29
  11. The cartilage segmentation algorithms make it possible to accurately evaluate the morphology and degeneration of cartilage. There are some factors (location of cartilage subregions, hydrarthrosis and cartilage...

    Authors: Ping Zhang, Ran Xu Zhang, Xiao Shuai Chen, Xiao Yue Zhou, Esther Raithel, Jian Ling Cui and Jian Zhao
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2022 23:19
  12. Total hip arthroplasty (THA) for developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a complex procedure due to associated anatomical abnormalities. We studied the extent to which preoperative digital templating is re...

    Authors: Emelie Kristoffersson, Volker Otten and Sead Crnalic
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:942
  13. Barriers and facilitators to physical activity in inflammatory arthritis can be assessed through the Inflammatory arthritis FAcilitators and Barriers (IFAB) questionnaire. The objective was to measure the corr...

    Authors: Thomas Davergne, Rawdha Tekaya, Jérémie Sellam, Anne Tournadre, Stéphane Mitrovic, Adeline Ruyssen-Witrand, Christophe Hudry, Sabrina Dadoun, Jérôme Avouac, Bruno Fautrel and Laure Gossec
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:915
  14. Virtual reality training (VRT) is a new method for the rehabilitation of musculoskeletal impairments. However, the clinical and central effects of VRT have not been investigated in patients with patellofemoral...

    Authors: Naghmeh Ebrahimi, Zahra Rojhani-Shirazi, Amin Kordi Yoosefinejad and Mohammad Nami
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:900
  15. Research is often undertaken using patient-reported outcomes from questionnaires. Achieving a high response rate demands expensive and time-consuming methods like telephone reminders. However, it is unknown wh...

    Authors: Christina Lyngsø Udby, Allan Riis, Janus Laust Thomsen and Nanna Rolving
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:893
  16. Prevalence for knee osteoarthritis is rising in both Sweden and globally due to increased age and obesity in the population. This has subsequently led to an increasing demand for knee arthroplasties. Correct d...

    Authors: Simon Olsson, Ehsan Akbarian, Anna Lind, Ali Sharif Razavian and Max Gordon
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:844
  17. Monitoring technology is increasingly accessible to recreational runners. Our aim was to examine patterns of technology use in recreational runners, and its potential association with injury.

    Authors: Richard S. Mayne, Chris M. Bleakley and Mark Matthews
    Citation: BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation 2021 13:116
  18. Video consultations have proven to be an efficient source of support for patient-doctor interactions and have become increasingly used in orthopedics, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study analyz...

    Authors: K Estel, G Weber, F Fellmer, L Richter, S Tsitsilonis, C Willy and DA Back
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:774
  19. Shifts in treatment strategies for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have made ambulatory care more labour-intensive. These developments have prompted innovative care models, including mobile health (mHealth) applicat...

    Authors: Michaël Doumen, René Westhovens, Sofia Pazmino, Delphine Bertrand, Veerle Stouten, Claudia Neys, Nelly Creten, Els Van Laeken, Patrick Verschueren and Diederik De Cock
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:746
  20. Despite well-established benefits of physical activity for knee osteoarthritis (OA), nine of ten people with knee OA are inactive. People with knee OA who are inactive often believe that physical activity is d...

    Authors: Tasha R. Stanton, Felicity A. Braithwaite, David Butler, G. Lorimer Moseley, Catherine Hill, Rachel Milte, Julie Ratcliffe, Carol Maher, Christy Tomkins-Lane, Brian W. Pulling, Erin MacIntyre, Adrian Esterman, Ty Stanford, Hopin Lee, Francois Fraysse, Ben Metcalf…
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:738
  21. The objective of this study was to assess the accuracy and reliability of and time taken by a novel method using the built-in photo-edit function of smartphones compared with PACS in measuring hallux valgus pa...

    Authors: Tianji Huang, Lin Wang, Chao Lu, Weiyang Zhong, Zenghui Zhao and Xiaoji Luo
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:716
  22. Neuromuscular and quadriceps exercises have been shown to be effective approaches to relieve pain and to improve function for patients with knee osteoarthritis. In this study, we aim to provide an informative ...

    Authors: Lin Wang, Suhang Xie, Tianjie Bao, Siyi Zhu, Qiu Liang, Xiaoyi Wang, Ruishi Zhang, Xiaona Xiang, Chunping Du and Chengqi He
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:470
  23. Augmented Reality (AR) is a rapidly emerging technology finding growing acceptance and application in different fields of surgery. Various studies have been performed evaluating the precision and accuracy of A...

    Authors: Cyrill Dennler, David E. Bauer, Anne-Gita Scheibler, José Spirig, Tobias Götschi, Philipp Fürnstahl and Mazda Farshad
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:451
  24. Less experienced clinicians sometimes make misdiagnosis of hip fractures. We developed computer-aided diagnosis (CAD) system for hip fractures on plain X-rays using a deep learning model trained on a large dat...

    Authors: Yoichi Sato, Yasuhiko Takegami, Takamune Asamoto, Yutaro Ono, Tsugeno Hidetoshi, Ryosuke Goto, Akira Kitamura and Seiwa Honda
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:407
  25. As the primary treatment for adhesive capsulitis, intensive and accurate home exercise is as important as physical therapy in hospitals. Augmented reality (AR)-based telerehabilitation has been implemented rec...

    Authors: Seung Mi Yeo, Ji Young Lim, Jong Geol Do, Jae-Young Lim, Jong In Lee and Ji Hye Hwang
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:386
  26. Rehabilitation is seen as crucial in dealing with the demographic change in many European countries. In Germany, for example, after having stayed in a rehabilitation center, patients have the possibility to pa...

    Authors: Darko Jekauc, Sabine Rayling, Sara Klopp, Detlef Schmidt, Lena-Marie Rittmann and Julian Fritsch
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:366
  27. To explore orthopaedic and musculoskeletal clinicians’ views and experiences of legal, safety, safeguarding and security issues regarding the use of virtual consultations (VC) during the COVID-19 pandemic. A s...

    Authors: Anthony W Gilbert, Gregory Booth, Tony Betts and Andy Goldberg
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:245
  28. Although it is well-established that osteoarthritis (OA) impairs daily-life gait, objective gait assessments are not part of routine clinical evaluation. Wearable inertial sensors provide an easily accessible ...

    Authors: Ramon J. Boekesteijn, José M. H. Smolders, Vincent J. J. F. Busch, Alexander C. H. Geurts and Katrijn Smulders
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:242
  29. Artificial intelligence (AI) is one of the most promising areas in medicine with many possibilities for improving health and wellness. Already today, diagnostic decision support systems may help patients to es...

    Authors: Lia Rigamonti, Katharina Estel, Tobias Gehlen, Bernd Wolfarth, James B. Lawrence and David A. Back
    Citation: BMC Sports Science, Medicine and Rehabilitation 2021 13:13
  30. Although telehealth is becoming more popular for delivery of care for individuals with musculoskeletal pain, to our knowledge telehealth has not been used to manage Achilles tendinopathy. This research aimed t...

    Authors: F. Hasani, P. Malliaras, T. Haines, S. E. Munteanu, J. White, J. Ridgway, P. Nicklen, A. Moran and P. Jansons
    Citation: BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2021 22:138