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Physical activity after total joint arthroplasty: a narrative review

Authors Almeida GJ, Khoja SS, Piva SR

Received 10 October 2017

Accepted for publication 16 January 2018

Published 15 March 2018 Volume 2018:9 Pages 55—68


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Andreas Imhoff

Gustavo J Almeida, Samannaaz S Khoja, Sara R Piva

Department of Physical Therapy, School of Health and Rehabilitation Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA

Background: Total joint arthroplasty (TJA) is a common procedure to treat individuals with hip and knee osteoarthritis. While TJAs are successful in decreasing pain and improving quality of life, it is unclear whether individuals who undergo TJA become more physically active after surgery. It is possible that TJA, by itself, is not sufficient to affect the behavior of patients toward physical activity (PA) participation. To increase PA participation, individuals with TJA may need to be exposed to exercise/behavioral interventions specifically aimed to promote PA (ie, in addition to the surgery).
Objectives: This narrative review aimed to assess the evidence on 1) whether TJAs change PA participation from pre- to postsurgery and 2) whether exercise/behavioral interventions delivered before or after TJA help to promote PA in these patients.
Results: For aim 1, the studies that assessed PA from pre- to post-TJA reported that PA does not change in the first 3 months postsurgery. The results of follow-ups longer than 3 months but shorter than 12 months are contradictory, and the results of follow-ups longer than 12 months provide weak evidence of increased PA. Assessment of changes in PA due to TJA is challenged by the wide variability in demographics, methods used to assess PA, and different pathways of care used across studies. The results for aim 2 were limited by a scarcity of studies that used exercise/behavioral interventions to promote PA.
Conclusion: TJA relieves joint pain and offers a unique opportunity for patients to become more physically active. However, the current evidence is limited and unable to offer definitive results of whether TJA is effective to change PA from pre- to postsurgery. Future large studies in representative samples of patients with TJA are needed to adequately answer this question.

Keywords: osteoarthritis, total knee arthroplasty, total hip arthroplasty, health promotion, quality of life, physical function, behavioral intervention

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