Information about expected rate of change after arthroplasty is critical for making prognostic decisions related to rehabilitation. The goals of this study were: (1) to describe the pattern of change in lower-extremity functional status of patients over a 1-year period after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and (2) to describe the effect of preoperative functional status on change over time.Eighty-four patients with osteoarthritishad repeated measurements for the Lower Extremity Functional Scale (LEFS) and the Six-Minute Walk Test (6MWT) taken over a 1-year period. The greatest improvement occurred in the first 12 weeks after TKA. Slower improvement continued to occur from 12 weeks to 26 weeks after TKA, and little improvement occurred beyond 26 weeks after TKA. The findings can be used by physical therapists to make prognostic judgments related to the expected rate of improvement following TKA and the total amount of improvement that may be expected.
Physical Therapy, Nov 2007, online article ahead of press