Effectiveness of early high-intensity balance training for early home life independence after total knee arthroplasty: a pseudo-randomized controlled trial

Phys Ther Res. 2020 Mar 25;23(1):79-86. doi: 10.1298/ptr.E9995. eCollection 2020.


Objective: In Japan, the number of elderly individuals living alone is increasing, leading to an increase in hospital medical expenses attributed to total knee arthroplasty (TKA). Improvement in balance and functional performance is a priority in the early postoperative stages after TKA. However, there are no reports on the effectiveness of balance training (BT) for inpatients in the early postoperative period. Thus, we aimed to evaluate the effectiveness of early high-intensity BT for early home-life independence after TKA.

Method: This pseudo-randomized controlled trial included 49 inpatients who underwent TKA and had osteoarthritis. Inpatients were categorized into the BT or typical training (TT) group. The BT program began on post-TKA day 4, with 12-14 sessions between day 7 and 10 (i.e., 1-2 sessions per day). The effect of the intervention was assessed using balance ability as the main outcome. Sub-outcomes included evaluation of motion function. The differences in each variable before and after intervention were compared, including covariance analysis adjusted for age and sex.

Results: The mean (standard deviation) balance ability indexes in the left and right directions were BT, pre 4.5 (0.8) and post 4.4 (0.8); TT, pre 4.8 (0.9) and post 4.4 (0.8), and those in the forward and backward directions were BT, pre 4.7 (1.7) and post 5.1 (2.1); TT, pre 6.3 (2.6) and post 5.9 (2.0). No significant differences were found between the preoperative and postintervention scores in the two groups for any measured outcome.

Conclusion: BT did not appear to improve balance ability or functional performance.

Keywords: high-intensity balance training; osteoarthritis; pseudo-randomized controlled trial; total knee arthroplasty.