Individuals' experience of living with osteoarthritis of the knee and perceptions of total knee arthroplasty

Physiother Theory Pract. May-Jun 2008;24(3):167-81. doi: 10.1080/09593980701588326.


This study investigated the physical and psychosocial consequences of living with osteoarthritis (OA) in daily life and peoples' views of total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and the role of physiotherapy. In-depth interview data were used from a prospective qualitative study conducted by the senior author (KY). Participants were 15 volunteers with knee OA who were awaiting TKA at a specialized orthopaedic tertiary care facility in Toronto. A modified grounded theory method approach was used to analyze the interview data. The findings showed that experiences for the participants with OA were conceptualized as a "breakpoint." The breakpoint was centred on the experiences/processes of living with unremitting pain, the limitations of mobility, leisure and social activities, and the resulting consequences to the participant's physical and psychological well-being. In addition to the above experiences, participants also discussed their perceptions of TKA surgery. The findings showed that expectations of TKA were linked to participants' knowledge of the procedure and its outcomes. The participants listed acquaintances, friends, family members, and doctors as the main sources of knowledge for TKA. On the basis of the above analysis, recommendations are made for developing a preoperative physiotherapy program that would focus on minimizing preoperative disability and maximizing postoperative recovery.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Aged
  • Arthralgia / etiology
  • Arthralgia / psychology
  • Arthralgia / therapy
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / psychology*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mobility Limitation
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / complications
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / physiopathology
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / psychology*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / therapy
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Perception
  • Physical Therapy Modalities*
  • Program Development
  • Prospective Studies
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Life*
  • Treatment Outcome