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  • Patients' Expectations of Activity Following Knee Replacement Not Realized

    Following knee replacement surgery, patients' physical activity levels are significantly lower than what they expected they would be, says a Reuters Health article based on study in The Journal of Arthroplasty.

    Researchers surveyed 83 patients with arthritis who were about to have a knee replaced, then questioned them again 1 year after the procedure. At the time of surgery, study participants reported that they were active about 2 hours a week, "mostly doing moderate-intensity activities such as yard work, strength training, and walking."

    The patients expected to spend about 23 hours per week exercising 1 year after their surgery, the article says. According to the second survey, people were more active postsurgery but not to the degree that they had anticipated, averaging 11 hours a week of activity.   

    Lead author and APTA member Dina Jones, PT, PhD, said the reason people's expectations don't match reality is likely because those expectations are rarely brought up in presurgery conversations, which usually focus on the knee's function immediately after the operation.

    Even if surgeons don't always discuss long-term exercise goals with patients, "from the data we've collected I don't see anything that says physicians are telling people they'll have more function than they used to," Jones told Reuters Health.

    Jones and her colleagues are working on developing educational pamphlets and presentations that would help people manage their exercise-related expectations for after knee replacement.

    APTA member James J. Irrgang, PT, PhD, ATC, coauthored the study.