Does Physical Activity Increase After Total Hip or Knee Arthroplasty for Osteoarthritis? A Systematic Review

J Orthop Sports Phys Ther. 2016 Jun;46(6):431-42. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2016.6449. Epub 2016 Apr 26.


Study Design Systematic review. Background Despite improvements in self-reported symptoms and perceived functional ability after total hip arthroplasty (THA) and total knee arthroplasty (TKA), it is unclear whether changes in objectively measured physical activity (PA) occur after surgery. Objective To determine if objectively measured PA increases after THA and TKA in adults with osteoarthritis. Methods Five electronic databases were searched from inception to March 3, 2015. All study designs objectively measuring PA before and after THA or TKA were eligible, including randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, and case-control studies. Two reviewers independently screened abstracts and full texts and extracted study demographic, PA, and clinical outcome data. Standardized mean differences (SMDs) and 95% confidence intervals were calculated for accelerometer- and pedometer-derived estimates of PA. Risk of methodological bias was assessed with Critical Appraisal Skills Programme checklists. Results Eight studies with a total of 373 participants (238 TKA, 135 THA) were included. Findings were mixed regarding improvement in objectively measured PA at 6 months after THA (SMDs, -0.20 to 1.80) and TKA (SMDs, -0.36 to 0.63). Larger improvements from 2 studies at 1 year postsurgery were generally observed after THA (SMDs, 0.39 to 0.79) and TKA (SMDs, 0.10 to 0.85). However, at 1 year, PA levels were still considerably lower than those of healthy controls (THA SMDs, -0.25 to -0.77; TKA SMDs, -1.46 to -1.80). Risk-of-bias scores ranged from 3 to 9 out of 11 (27%-82%) for cohort studies, and from 3 to 8 out of 10 (30%-80%) for case-control studies. Conclusion The best available evidence indicates negligible changes in PA at 6 months after THA or TKA, with limited evidence for larger changes at 1 year after surgery. In the 4 studies that reported control-group data, postoperative PA levels were still considerably less than those of healthy controls. Improved perioperative strategies to instill behavioral change are required to narrow the gap between patient-perceived functional improvement and the actual amount of PA undertaken after THA and TKA. Registered with PROSPERO (registration number CRD42014010155). Level of Evidence Therapy, level 2a. J Orthop Sports Phys Ther 2016;46(6):431-442. Epub 26 Apr 2016. doi:10.2519/jospt.2016.6449.

Keywords: arthroplasty; exercise; joint replacement; rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip*
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Osteoarthritis, Hip / surgery*
  • Osteoarthritis, Knee / surgery*
  • Patient Reported Outcome Measures