Improving Physical Activity Through Adjunct Telerehabilitation Following Total Knee Arthroplasty: Randomized Controlled Trial Protocol

Phys Ther. 2019 Jan 1;99(1):37-45. doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzy119.


Background: Physical activity remains low and nearly unchanged from preoperative levels following total knee arthroplasty (TKA), and this is thought to underlie long-term functional limitations, secondary health problems, and higher health care costs after TKA.

Objective: Our objective is to determine whether a telehealth-based intervention could improve physical activity and functional outcomes after TKA.

Design: The design is a 2-arm, parallel, assessor-blinded, randomized controlled trial with baseline, midintervention, postintervention, and 6-month follow-up assessments.

Setting: The setting is one academic medical center and one Veterans Affairs health care system.

Participants: One hundred US military veterans (aged 50-85 years) scheduled for unilateral TKA will participate in this study.

Intervention: The telehealth-based intervention to change physical activity behavior will be delivered through 10 sessions each of 30 minutes over a 12-week period. Participants will be provided with a wearable physical activity monitor to receive feedback on step count and guide goal-setting. Control participants will receive telehealth-based education on nonbehavioral aspects of health for the same frequency and duration as the intervention group. For both groups, telehealth sessions will occur concurrently with standardized outpatient rehabilitation.

Measurements: The primary outcome will be change in physical activity, assessed as daily step counts measured using an accelerometer-based sensor. Secondary outcomes will be measured using the Life-Space Assessment questionnaire and change in physical function (30-Second Chair-Stand Test, Timed "Up & Go" Test, Six-Minute Walk Test, Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index, and Veterans RAND 12-Item Health Survey).

Limitations: Participant and interventionist blinding is not possible.

Conclusions: This trial will assess the efficacy of a novel behavior-change intervention to improve physical activity and physical function in patients after TKA. Effective physical activity behavior change could provide clinicians with a technique to augment current practice and resolve poor physical activity outcomes, long-term health problems, and high costs following TKA.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry / instrumentation
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / rehabilitation*
  • Exercise*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Physical Functional Performance*
  • Single-Blind Method
  • Telerehabilitation*
  • Veterans