No need for outpatient physiotherapy following total knee arthroplasty: a randomized trial of 120 patients

Acta Orthop Scand. 2004 Feb;75(1):71-3. doi: 10.1080/00016470410001708140.


Background: We have not found any reports on the effect of physiotherapy after knee replacement.

Patients and methods: In a prospective randomized controlled trial, we randomized two groups to receive or not receive outpatient physiotherapy following total knee arthroplasty. 120 patients were recruited over 2 years, each followed up for 1 year. Inclusion criteria were age between 55-90 years, less than 40 degrees of fixed flexion contracture and the ability to walk at least 10 meters unaided preoperatively with monoarticular arthrosis.

Results: We found no statistically significant benefit of outpatient physiotherapy at any of the three times measured. After adjusting for baseline differences between the two treatment groups, the mean difference in knee flexion 1 year postoperatively was only 2.9 degrees. This mean difference is of no clinical significance.

Interpretation: We concluded that in a preselected group of patients following primary total knee arthroplasty, inpatient physiotherapy with good instructions and a well-structured home exercise regime can dispense with the need for outpatient physiotherapy.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise Therapy*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery*
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Range of Motion, Articular / physiology
  • Time Factors