Preoperative exercise in patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty: a pilot randomized controlled trial

Pascale Gränicher*, Thomas Stöggl, Sandro F Fucentese, Rolf Adelsberger, Jaap Swanenburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of preoperative physiotherapy (PT) on functional, subjective and socio-economic parameters after total knee arthroplasty (TKA).

Methods: 20 patients (mean ± SD: age 67 ± 7 years) scheduled for TKA at Balgrist University Hospital between July 2016 and March 2017 were randomly assigned to a control (CG) or intervention (IG) group. 3 to 4 weeks prior to surgery the IG completed 5 to 9 sessions of PT containing proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF) techniques, endurance training and individually indicated interventions. Measurements were executed at baseline, preoperative and 3 months after TKA. The primary outcome measure was the Stair Climbing Test (SCT), secondary outcome measures were the knee range of motion (ROM) and the level of physical activity using Lysholm Score (LS) and Tegner Activity Scale (TAS). The subjective and socio-economic parameters were the Patients' Global Impression of Change (PGIC) scale, inpatient rehabilitation time, preoperative pain levels and metabolic equivalent (MET), postoperative intake of analgesics and overall costs.

Results: No difference between IG and CG was found for SCT (F (2/36) = 0.016, p = 0.984, η2 = 0.004). An interaction between group and time was shown for TAS (F (18/1) = 13.890) with an increase in the IG (p = 0.002, η2 = 0.536). The sub-item "pain" within the LS presented a higher pain-level in CG (F (18/1) = 4.490, p = 0.048, η2 = 0.974), while IG showed a higher preoperative MET compared to CG (p = 0.035). There were no other significant changes. The CG produced 21.4% higher overall costs, took more analgesics and showed higher preoperative pain levels than the IG.

Conclusions: Findings show that preoperative therapy improved the level of physical activity before and after TKA and resulted in a clinically relevant gain in TAS.

Trial registration: Identifier; NCT03160534. Registered 19 May 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Article number13
JournalArchives of physiotherapy
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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