The ESCAPE-pain programme

One in five people aged over 50 years have chronic joint pain due to osteoarthritis and this rises to one in 2 for over 80s. ESCAPE-pain is an award-winning, group-based education and exercise programme that helps people feel more in control of their pain, and more able to do things they enjoy.

We have designed a support tool to help ESCAPE-pain participants continue to exercise safely in their homes after they have completed the face-to-face ESCAPE-pain programme. The ESCAPE-pain app has been downloaded more than 6,000 times and features exercise videos that can help improve mobility and reduce knee and hip pain.

Produced for the NHS, by the Health Innovation Network and Salaso Health Solutions Ltd, the ESCAPE-pain app is free to download from both the Apple App Store and Google Play. You can search for ESCAPE-pain or click here: iOS & Android.

ESCAPE-pain is a twice-weekly, six week evidence-based group programme that combines education and exercise, to benefit people with chronic joint pain, also known as osteoarthritis. ESCAPE-pain is delivered by physiotherapists and exercise professionals in a variety of settings such as hospital outpatient departments, leisure centres, community centres, gyms, church halls etc. The programme has been recognised with awards from both the Royal Society for Public Health and the British Society for Rheumatology.

The app enables people to access the ESCAPE-pain programme digitally, for information and exercises. It features 16 high quality exercise videos to improve joint pain, and engaging animations to help people learn about how to better manage their condition.

The exercise videos are simple and easy to follow, and show that exercise isn’t painful while enabling people using the app to feel its benefits. The videos come with clear instructions, and have been developed to show people how to do the exercises safely in their own homes, to make them feel more confident and more in control.

Professor Mike Hurley, originator of the ESCAPE-pain programme, says “Thanks to the ESCAPE-pain app anyone with chronic knee or hip pain can benefit from the programme, regardless where they live. It is a tool that’s ideal to support people to exercise safely and regularly in their own home.”

Nicky Wilson, Consultant Physiotherapist (MSK), King’s College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said: “People with joint pain are always looking for reliable resources to help them manage their condition and better cope with pain. The ESCAPE-pain app is an ideal tool to point them towards.”

The ESCAPE-pain programme has now spread to 174 sites in total (as of May 2019), with 17 sites across south London. The programme has benefitted more than 11,000 people, and continues to spread across the UK.

Chronic joint pain, or osteoarthritis, affects one in five of the population over the age of 50, and one in two of the population over the age of 80. This condition causes considerable suffering and distress, and is a life-inhibiting disease. Although it cannot be cured there is a great deal people can do to relieve their symptoms. There is also a great deal of evidence that better understanding of the problem and exercise are very effective ways of reducing pain, and the physical and psychosocial effects of chronic pain.

The ESCAPE-pain app is a support tool, provided for reference only. It is therefore not to be used as the sole basis for treatment, prescription and care of a person’s condition and health. It should be used in conjunction with the advice and professional judgement of a GP or other healthcare practitioner.

For more information please visit or email, or watch the introductory ESCAPE-pain app film here.