Return to sports and recreational activity after unicompartmental knee arthroplasty

Am J Sports Med. 2007 Oct;35(10):1688-95. doi: 10.1177/0363546507303562. Epub 2007 Jun 8.


Background: There is a lack of detailed information concerning patients' sports and recreational activities after unicompartmental knee arthroplasty.

Hypothesis: Patients treated by unicompartmental knee arthroplasty will be able to return to sports and activity.

Study design: Case series; Level of evidence, 4.

Methods: The authors surveyed 83 patients by postal questionnaires to determine their sporting and recreational activities at a mean follow-up of 18 +/- 4.6 months (range, 12-28) after unicompartmental knee arthroplasty. For data analysis, patients were divided into groups of women and men, and older and younger patients (those above and below the median age of the group). The authors also assessed the state of general health (SF-36) of the patients at the time of the survey and compared the results with those of a matched (for age and side-diagnoses) reference population.

Results: Before surgery, 77 of 83 patients were engaged in an average of 5.0 sports and recreational disciplines; postoperatively, 73 (88%) participated in an average of 3.1 different sports disciplines, resulting in a return to activity rate of 95%. The frequency of activities (sessions per week) was 2.9 preoperatively and remained constant at the time of survey (2.8). The group of older patients (mean age 73.0 y) revealed a significantly higher frequency than the group of younger patients (mean age 57.8 y). The minimum session length decreased from 66 minutes before surgery to 55 minutes after surgery. The most common activities after surgery were hiking, cycling, and swimming. Several high-impact activities, as well as the winter disciplines of downhill- and cross-country skiing had a significant decrease in participating patients. The majority of the patients (90.3%) stated that surgery had maintained or improved their ability to participate in sports or recreational activities. The patients generally scored very high on the SF-36 compared with the matched reference population. Higher SF-36 values in the physical-related domains correlated with an increased level of activity (r = 0.425). The preoperative body mass index showed a weak, negative correlation with the postoperative extent of activities (r = -0.282).

Conclusion: The majority of patients returned to sports and recreational activity after unicompartmental knee arthroplasty. However, the numbers of different disciplines patients were engaged in decreased as well as the extent of activities. The activities in which most patients participated were primarily low- or midimpact. The patients scored higher on the SF-36 than age-related norms, which might be due to the patient-selection process for unicompartmental knee arthroplasty and geographical differences.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / rehabilitation*
  • Athletic Injuries / rehabilitation
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Quality of Life
  • Recovery of Function*
  • Recreation
  • Sex Factors