Exercise prior to knee replacement surgery boosts functionality

8 February 2011

Patients who take part in a structured exercise programme prior to undergoing knee replacement surgery experience joint functionality improvements.

According to new research conducted at the University of Louisville, patients with severe knee arthritis can dramatically improve their leg strength by exercising.

Published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, the study, led by the university’s Ann Swank and Robert Topp, hinted at the potential post-operative benefits of pre-surgical exercise – including the possibility patients will experience a more rapid recovery following knee replacement or knee arthroscopy.

Dr Topp claimed that the next phase of research into pre-surgical exercise programmes should focus on the potential benefits to both patients and hospitals following surgery.

He wrote: "The next step in this research is to determine whether this comprehensive prehabilitation exercise programme translates to a savings in healthcare dollars.

"For example, reducing the number of days a patient stays in the hospital or reducing the number of physical therapy sessions."

Recently, scientists from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, in Europe, published a study in the Annals of Internal Medicine which linked exercise to increased mobility in osteoarthritis sufferers.

1 Swank, Ann and Topp, Robert et al. “Prehabilitaion Before Total Knee Arthroplasty Increases Strength and Function in Older Adults With Severe Osteoarthritis”. February 2011.

2 Sharma, Leena and Dunlop, Dorothy et al. “Quadriceps Strength and Osteoarthritis Progression in Malaligned and Lax Knees”. Annals of Internal Medicine. April 2003.

Health News is provided by Adfero in collaboration with Spire Healthcare. Please note that all copy is © Adfero Ltd. and does not reflect views or opinions of Spire Healthcare unless explicitly stated. Additional comments on the page from individual Spire consultants do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of other consultants or Spire Healthcare.

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Spire consultant comments

Andrew Lavender, Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon at Spire Manchester Hospital:
"Prehabilitation prior to surgery has always been a good thing for patients.

"It has been shown before that patients who exercise and build up tone and strength in their legs have less pain due to their arthritis. They also benefit post operatively by being more used to the exercises that they are required to do post op and rehabilitate faster and better."

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