Effect of total knee arthroplasty on recreational and sporting activity

ANZ J Surg. 2005 Jun;75(6):405-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1445-2197.2005.03400.x.


Background: Common concerns of patients undergoing total knee arthroplasty (TKA) are whether they can continue with certain recreational and sporting activities or even commence new ones after the procedure. The present study was designed to determine preoperative and postoperative activities, the numbers participating and the time to resume these activities.

Methods: Between 1 and 2 years after TKA, patients who had undergone 144 arthroplasties, were surveyed by postal questionnaire to ascertain how the arthroplasty had affected their recreational and sporting ability. Their preoperative and postoperative activity along with the time to resume was recorded. The Oxford knee score and estimate of physical activity was also collected.

Results: Out of the 144 TKA performed, 122 participated in sport and recreational activity preoperatively and 108 participated postoperatively. Patients stated that the surgery had a beneficial effect on their performance of sporting and recreational activities although the number of sporting events decreased. By multiplying individuals by the number of activities they participated in, there were 254 occurrences of sport and recreational activities preoperatively giving a mean for the group of 1.76 sports/patient. Postoperatively this had reduced to 204, giving a mean of 1.41. Three activities showed a significant change for individual patients from pre- to postoperation. Those which showed an increase were exercise walking, where 19 patients (13.2%) who did not walk before surgery took up walking afterwards (P < 0.006) and aqua aerobics, where five took up aqua aerobics postoperatively for the first time (P < 0.025). Golf was the only sport which had a significant fall in participation from pre- to postoperation, with 10 out of 19 golfers giving up (P < 0.025).

Conclusion: The present study has shown that patients are adopting lower impact activities to participate in after TKA. The total number of patients performing a sport decreases postoperatively and the total amount of sport played decreases. These data will help to counsel patients.

MeSH terms

  • Arthritis, Rheumatoid / surgery
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Exercise
  • Female
  • Golf
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Osteoarthritis / surgery
  • Postoperative Period
  • Recreation*
  • Sports*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Walking